Rockabilly band Delilah Dewylde and the Lost Boys celebrate 10 years

Jan 9, 2014

Credit courtesy of Delilah Dewylde and the Lost Boys

Local rockabilly legends Delilah Dewydle and the Lost Boys are playing tonight at 9:00 p.m. at Shakespeare’s Pub in Kalamazoo. This summer the Grand Rapids band will celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Rockabilly is one of the earliest types of rock n’ roll—think Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Front woman Delilah Dewylde plays upright bass. She says you can’t really have a rockabilly band without one, which is why she switched from playing electric bass guitar. 

“That acoustic sound that…I mean if you listen to like Bill Haley ‘Rockin’ Round the Clock’. I mean that thumpity clickity bass is just so important to that music," Dewylde says. "That’s what everybody used back in the 50s. It wasn’t really until early 60s probably that people were more using electric bass. It just has a different sound.  

Before the Lost Boys, Dewylde and guitarist Lee Harvey were part of the rockabilly band DangerVille—which is still around today. Dewylde says back then, Lee Harvey was the drummer.

“And he said when I’m sitting at the drums and we play, he says, I feel like everybody is always looking at the bass because it’s such an unusual instrument. Not a lot of people play it. Plus having a girl play bass, you don’t really see that very often. He says I want to start a band so I can play guitar so you can be the front person. And I didn’t really want to do that. I was content just being the bass player and occasionally singing backup once in a while. So it was really his idea. So he kind of convinced me rather to take up singing and fronting a band. And when we started out we did all classic country.”

Dewylde says it took her a while to master the ‘hiccupy’ vocal style of the old rock n’ roll greats. Not many women sang rockabilly in the 50s.

“There weren’t really a lot of girls that did that," she says. "So I think what I started doing was listening to some women who maybe sang early country, like Loretta Lynn or we listened to a lot of Hank Williams. And it just kind of…I don’t know. When I’m singing those old songs, I’m thinking of the person that originally sand them.”

Since then Delilah Dewylde and the Lost Boys have covered a lot of ground. In 2012, the band played 140 shows. Dewylde says during the summer they gig five days a week. Their fans have grown too--in more ways than one.

“Ten, twenty years ago even, there was more people our age who were into this kind of stuff," says Dewylde. "Now as we get older, I’m finding the age of our crowd is actually older than us, because there’s the baby boomers who remember this music from when they were kids who are actually quite a big following of ours now.”

The band’s vintage feel doesn’t just stop at their music. Dewylde will often sport polka dot dresses and cowboy boots.

“I think with a lot of rockabilly back when I first knew it in the 90s, earlier 90s, it was kind of an image thing. I mean everybody at the rockabilly shows dressed up—the fans, the band," she says. "We always dress up no matter what size the show because…I don’t know. I think that when people come to see you, they deserve a show. You don’t want to go see a play and see people dressed in sweatpants. I mean you want to see people dressing the part. I think that adds to the show. I think it really draws people in.”

Delilah Dewydle and the Lost Boys are coming out with a new album this spring. One of the many albums they’re also releasing on vinyl.