Since 2010 I've been championing the music of Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas. From the first time I saw her live and heard that voice, I knew Hernandez had both the talent and the songs to be an artist that breaks out of Detroit and earn a national following. That script was stalled a bit after signing a major label deal with Blue Note Records, who were originally supposed to release this album back when it was called Tarantula Mansion. Hernandez, with an assist from fellow Detroiter Don Was, got out of her Blue Note deal after the label was acquired by Universal as she feared she would get lost in the shuffle of major label dealings and politics.
I don't know what changes the album took by the time it was released this year, now titled Secret Evil, on the reborn Instant Records label. But having been familiar with most of these songs after hearing them played live during the countless times I saw Hernandez & The Deltas around town, I knew that once committed to record they had a chance to form an astounding debut album. And they do exactly that. Secret Evil is eleven tracks of solid gold material. You want ballads? "Lovers First", "Neck Tattoo" which begs to be a single, and "Cry Cry Cry" have you covered. You wanna dance? Try "Dead Brains" or "No Place Left To Hide". There's the pure pop perfection of "Over", another track that screams hit single and deserves exposure to a wider audience. Then there's the mix of every other influence on Hernandez' music, with travels through soul, funk, jazz, rock, pop, you name it, on such songs as "Run Run Run", "Downtown Man" and "Sorry I Stole Your Man". That last song was the one Detroit Jess & The Deltas performed this year on The Late Show With David Letterman, who was of course floored by their performance.
As a fan and supporter of many bands and artists not just from Detroit but the entire Michigan music scene, there's always a sense of pride when you see one of "our own" get a chance in the national spotlight. Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas are getting more and more exposure to the wider audience they deserve, and if there is still any justice in the music world, their national following will continue to grow, as will the size of the venues they play outside of Detroit. Secret Evil was worth the wait, it's pure musical perfection.
Favorite tracks: "Over", "Neck Tattoo", "Lovers First", "Run Run Run"
Secret Evil was released August 19, 2014 via Instant Records.