If you’re into good old spiritual, emotional and thought provoking rock n roll, look no further than Delta Deep. Comprised of Phil Collen (Def Leppard, Manraze), Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Forrest Robinson (The Crusaders) and Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), the roots of the culmination of the band are just as deep as their music.
In a strange moment of kismet, Collen met Blackwell-Cook, his wife’s Godmother, when she performed their wedding. When she began visiting Phil and his wife Helen in California, the combination of their musical talents were due to mesh, and they soon ended up performing live at local venues like San Diego’s Gerson Institute and even on a television broadcast for UTV. In 2013, while in New Zealand, the pair began to write lyrics for what would become their debut, self-title album, Delta Deep. Upon their return home, they began laying down the tracks in Phil’s studio, linking up with Forrest Robinson, and completing the circle when Robert DeLeo came on board to add his unique bass sound to the mix.
The band has driven home their blues/rock cum Americana sound at many a venue on the West Coast, and they finally decided to invade New York at a unique venue– the historic social club in Gramercy, The Players. This rustic setting seemed fitting for the veteran artists, the classical furniture and aristocratic designs offering a perfect back-drop for the musical evening.
Delta Deep, who was down one player due to Robert DeLeo’s conflicting Stone Temple Pilots schedule, set themselves up on a medium sized stage overlooking a full house of folks mostly 30 and up. Phil Collen opened with an electrifying guitar riff that shattered the thin air. It was soon coupled with the powerful vocals of Blackwell-Cook, and the audience roared with approval. The band brought the house down with “Treat Her Like Candy,” which had the crowd singing along. Phil then took center stage with a guitar solo reminiscent of his Def Lepppard days. With her Aretha Franklin/Tina Turner vocals and mannerisms, Debbie had the venue in stitches. Forrest was not far behind offering his down and dirty beats.
Considering the somber date, Debbi soon paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 and the passing of D-Rock with a strong and emotional number. The trio left the stage, but soon returned to a standing ovation. Breaking into “Can You Feel It,” they again got the crowd singing their own chorus. It was an impressive show in an impressive venue. Delta Deep is a rocking force due to bring down any house– historical or modern.
– Nick Christophers