“A Long and Happy Life”
Written by Ian Holljes and Eric Holljes
Delta Rae have brushed up against the country genre before– “If I Loved You” ranked on our year-end countdown of the Best Singles of 2015– but have remained nomads with regard to their marketing. “A Long And Happy Life” serves as the quartet’s official debut single for country radio, then, and it makes for a fine introduction for those unfamiliar with their exceptional vocal skill.
While the group has, at times, skewed a bit too far into “show choir” directions with their vocal arrangements, particularly on their most pop-leaning material, they avoid any such issues here. Though all four of the principal members of Delta Rae are fine singers, Liz Hopkins takes the lead on “A Long And Happy Life,” delivering a performance that impresses for its technical skill and its exuberant tone. Siblings Brittany, Eric, and Ian Holljes– the latter two of whom co-wrote the song– provide harmonies that are intricate without pulling attention from Hopkins’ killer lead turn.
The song’s production is as expert bit of pop-country; Dann Huff may have been responsible for some of the aughts’ most egregious production choices, but his work here is tasteful and restrained, highlighting the song’s lovely melody and memorable lyrical hook and layering some recognizable country instrumentation onto the track’s rootsy pop core.
Huff’s production and the group’s outsized performances make the chorus sound like an anthem. The images are thoughtful and unique– “I was born to love you out where the water is wide / Make me your country bride, you’ll be my prince of tides,” is far more poetic than most of what’s being played on country radio– and celebrate the redemptive power of love. While radio has been slow to embrace the single thus far, it’s hard to argue that 2017 is a year that could stand the kind of optimism “A Long And Happy Life” offers.