Review: The Delta Troubadours at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival

There’s not much in the way of major music festivals in Florida, but what the state lacks was at least partially made up for by the 2017 Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. With superstar headliners like Flume, Usher performing with The Roots, and Kings of Leon, Okeechobee offered a mix of well-known artists that could please any music lover, but a nice aspect of the festival is how it gives a platform to up-and-coming acts from the region. By December 2016, over 3,200 artists from around the world had registered to compete for a slot on the festival’s lineup in the “Destination Okeechobee” competition. After a month of online voting, Gainesville’s The Delta Troubadours came out on top, winning the popular vote. Having won the overall competition, The Delta Troubadours opened Okeechobee’s main “Be” stage on Sunday, March 5, ahead of Allen Stone, Moon Taxi, Bleachers, The Lumineers, and Kings of Leon.

The Delta Troubadours at the 2017 Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival // Photo by thevoidofsound

Sun in the sky, dust in the air, The Delta Troubadours’s 10-song set began at 1:45 PM. It’s no secret that, according to the band’s social media accounts, The Delta Troubadours have been recording new material since January, and fans, new and old (there were about 2,000 people in the audience), were treated to songs, new and old, from the southern rock-rap (it works, trust us) bop “Savannah” and slide guitar rager “Better Off Dead” off of 2016’s Gritt EP, to new alt rock soon-to-be anthem “Lethonomia (I Never Knew My Name)” (view their NPR Tiny Desk Concert for that song here) and headbanger “Stone Thrasher.”

The Delta Troubadours – drummer Max Rowe and bassist Jon Franklin // Photo by thevoidofsound

Besides the fact that the four lads who make up The Delta Troubadours – lead vocalist Gytis Garsys, bassist Jon Franklin, lead guitarist Ian Heausler, and drummer Max Rowe – are arguably the finest rock musicians to originate in Gainesville since Tom Petty, there is something inexplicably fresh about this band. They have been compared to nearly every mover and shaker in the blues rock game, most often The Black Keys and fellow Okeechobee band Kings of Leon, but it is also easy to say that The Delta Troubadours do not sound like anyone on the market today. Give them a listen and see for yourself (*disclaimer* we are not responsible if you get addicted to their sweet tunes).

The Delta Troubadours – lead guitarist Ian Heausler and lead vocalist Gytis Garsys // Photo by thevoidofsound

The Delta Troubadours closed their set with “Jimi Please Don’t Go,” a mashup of the traditional blues song “Baby Please Don’t Go” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” (you can view the studio video for that performance here). Between that and their riffing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times,” it is safe to say that their set gave everyone in the crowd their classic rock fix for the day.

While many attending the festival had not previously heard of The Delta Troubadours, they surely heard their power-packed main stage rock ‘n’ roll show. We advise that you hop on this train early; these boys are going somewhere.

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