The Deltaz: Americana Music Born in Malibu

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Malibu brothers John and Ted Siegal performing as The Deltaz

A pair of homegrown Malibu boys is about to launch their third studio album and embark on their first European tour. Brothers John and Ted Siegal—known as The Deltaz—have been playing music together for nearly two decades, despite their young ages: John, 26; Ted, 29. The brothers have entertained as the house band at the rustic and quirky restaurant The Old Place in the Malibu/Agoura Hills area for nearly nine years.

Growing up in the canyons of Malibu, John, who plays drums, harmonica and vocals, said his interest in music all started when he went to an assembly while attending Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. Local musician and Malibu High School drumline leader Eddie Marz soon became his drum teacher. 

“It blew my brother away when he was eight. My mother took us to a music store to get my brother some drums, and when we walked in the door, I saw guitars on the wall, picked one up and was immediately wowed and amazed,” Ted recalled. “My parents always played us music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, so that’s what we grew up on. Right then we started playing music together. We become The Deltaz when I was 17 and John was 14. It’s crazy to think it’s been that long.” 

Calling their style of music “Americana,” Ted explained, “At its core it means blues and country music.” 

Then John chimed in. 

“We started as more of a blues band,” John said. “That’s why we’re called The Deltaz, but over the years, we’ve branched out. We’ve gotten more into playing folk music, but we’re also focused on country,” he added, mentioning Hank Williams as a favorite. “If you go back far in American music, the lines between country and blues get blurred a little bit.”

After two well-received albums, “This Old Place,” a tribute to The Old Place and partially recorded live at the venue, and 2016’s “Like Your Brother,” the Siegal brothers are about to finish recording The Deltaz’ latest effort, titled “Barrelhouse Boys.” After getting many requests, they’ll be offering it on vinyl. The Deltaz currently have a Kickstarter fundraiser with an upcoming deadline of May 4 to get the vinyl pressed. Without a label backing them, the brothers are hoping their fans will help with their creative effort. 

Speaking about “Barrelhouse Boys,” Ted explained, “We’re really excited about it. It’s kind of like our last album, with a lot of country, but this album is a return to the more bluesy, rock roots of our playing. It features 11 new original Deltaz tunes.” 

You’ll be hearing lots of slide guitar from Ted and harmonica by John. 

“It was really important to us to have our album pressed on vinyl,” according to Ted. “The extent of pressing vinyl, the mastering of our album, pressing it on CD, releasing it on iTunes and Spotify, and all that stuff, especially on the heels of us leaving on our first tour to Europe—it’s put us in a position where we need to ask for people’s help. That’s why we’ve reached out to people on Kickstarter.” 

Before The Deltaz leave to play Germany, Belgium, Holland and Norway, they’ll be making an appearance locally Friday night, April 20, at Ollie’s Duck and Dive. The band will also have an album release show at Harvelle’s in Santa Monica on May 11.

That’s the date the record will be released on CD, music streaming services and over the internet. The vinyl will not be available until the end of June. The brothers said they’ll probably have another mini celebration then, too, for the vinyl release when they get back from Europe. If you donate $25 on Kickstarter, you can preorder the record. “When we get back from Europe, you’ll be the first ones to get the vinyl copy,” Ted said.

Since The Deltaz only tour about four months each year, you can usually catch them Saturday nights and Sunday mornings at The Old Place, singing harmonies, taking requests and playing for tips. 

Ted explained: “It’s a really unique way we get to perform that’s different than any other. I don’t think a lot of performers get this experience of playing songs three feet from someone and immediately getting to see their reaction to your music. That can be really exciting. The Old Place has been this catalyst for us—learning about ourselves as musicians. We’ve made so many connections with so many interesting people. It’s rare these days for blue-collar musicians like [me] and my brother to have this opportunity to have a steady Saturday night Sunday morning gig for years at a time. It’s valuable to us.”