Summer Beats

Summer Beats
Delta Saints photographed by David Bean in Nashville, TN

Delta Saints photographed by David Bean in Nashville, TN

Gulley Park rocks the heat

For Ben Ringel, frontman of Nashville rock outfit The Delta Saints, the records that stick with him the most are ones with a narrative start-to-finish — where each song represents a chapter or moment in that narrative.

“You leave with a feeling. You may not know what the feeling is, but you leave having experienced a narrative. All my favorite records are that way.”

Perhaps he can count the group’s newest release “Monte Vista” among his favorites, then.

“The desire to be physically somewhere else, or emotionally somewhere else — [the writing] stemmed from that,” Ringel shares. “A desire to just be further in our careers, further in growing up. I didn’t fully know what that narrative was for a while. Then eventually, I was able to take a step back and see, ‘Oh, OK, this is what the record’s about.’ I think it’s a relatable restlessness people in their late 20s or early 30s can relate to — a healthy restlessness.”

It was that “healthy restlessness” building up within the band that drove the musicians to want to push themselves creatively for their third studio album, released in April. During the writing process, Ringel says in the pursuit of growing as a writer and a musician, he explored melodic techniques and storytelling methods he had previously overlooked. Translating that internalization of other musical forms into his own style was a huge challenge, but it ended up being one of the most rewarding developments of his career so far.

“I love writing songs that are like mental math, and painting with crazy colors,” Ringel says. “But there’s also a talent in writing a song that’s impactful but doesn’t take 100 pages to tell the story, it only takes two pages. I’ve experienced it as an audience member many, many times — you can connect with the artist by being able to sing along by the end of the song. Being able to join the interaction, that’s incredible to be able to connect by the end of the four minutes.”

Even if they don’t know the words, Ringel is determined to make the audience feel that connection. He’ll sing ‘til he’s hoarse, sweat through every article of clothing he’s wearing and perform with an undeniable energy no matter the size of the crowd. When someone in the audience says they drove three hours to watch you perform, how can you possibly phone that in, he asks.

“I think there’s a sacred energy in live music that people find release from. To be in that moment with other people, watching a band on stage, creating an experience people can be a part of — I think that is such a sacred thing. And I don’t ever want to be part of a show or record that is disposable.”


The Delta Saints

WHEN — 7 p.m. today

WHERE — Gulley Park in Fayetteville

COST — Free



More Music

At The Park

July 13 — Melody Pond

July 27 — Arkansauce

Aug. 10 — Waylon Pierce

Aug. 17 — U.S. Navy Band

Categories: Galleries