A Tucker County singer/songwriter is making a name for himself on the national scene. Delberto Delvis is competing to play at the Tumbleweed music festival in Kansas.
“I’m pretty shocked to even be nominated,” Delvis said. “For me right now, it’s just the exposure that matters.” Delvis made it through the first round of voting and is now in the running for the final round.
Like his upbringing, Delvis’ musical roots began in Tucker County. “I was raised off Sugarlands Road,” Delvis said. “I get my musical talent from my dad’s side.” His father’s parents played fiddle and guitar.
Delvis was steeped in the sounds emanating from his family’s church and first took to singing and playing piano.
Delvis rattled off the names Steve Earle, Randy Travis, and Clint Black as being on constant rotation when he was young. These influences are evident in Delvis’ current musical stylings.
While a student at Tucker County High School, he learned the basics of guitar. “The music teacher showed us three chords and then said go figure out the rest, so I’d say I’m basically self-taught,” Delvis said.
At 17, he was given a right-handed guitar. Delvis is left handed, so he learned to play his right-handed guitar left handed like so many other famous axe wielders. He continues to play a right-handed guitar. “I couldn’t even think about playing a left handed guitar these days.”
“What I’m playing is more or less grassroots country,” Delvis explained. “There’s a movement that a lot of people around my age, don’t like this pop country, because that’s not what we grew up with.”
Delvis said much of his musical influence comes from Texas. “I really like Texas music or what they call ‘red dirt’ or ‘Texas swing.’ It definitely has its own sound.”
While listening to Delvis’ lyricism, an emphasis on storytelling becomes apparent. Songs like “Big Mountain Run” tell of a motorcycle event that takes place in Tucker County.
In other of his pieces, a thematic message takes the forefront. “Underdog” urges those fighting for their goals to keep pushing.
As for his run at the festival, Delvis said, “I never imagined this in my wildest dreams this would be happening.” This year’s headliners at Tumbleweed include Cody Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, and Marty Stewart. The festival will take place June 14-16 in Kansas City.
To vote for emerging artists, including Delvis, to play at the festival go to http://tumbleweedcountry.com. Voting ends Friday, April 13.
Locally, Delvis is scheduled to play at the Saddles and Smiles Annual Chili Cook Off on Saturday, May 19.