The Blue Delilahs’ passion for retro music is key to their success.
The Blue Delilahs band, formed in 2013, is composed of musicians who love music from the 1940s through the 1960s–everything from swing, jazz, blues, and rockabilly. The band had its beginnings in the early 1990s when Orange County residents Melissa Ritter met Amy Dyer in a pop vocal class at Orange Coast College and formed a pop rock band call Velvet Bleu with Christina Martin, a fellow classmate. Ritter was a chiropractor, having received her degree from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in Whittier.
“I was in my 20s when I founded the group,” Ritter says, “and we played many venues throughout southern California.”
Early on, Dyer left the band and Ritter and Martin continued, performing in such hot spots as The Cinegrill, Galaxy Theater, The Coach House, among others, and opening for such icons as jazz great Diane Schuur and Blood Sweat & Tears, as well as performing at the first Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” with 10,000 in attendance. Along the way, they released an album called “Rhapsody,” which received national airplay on smooth jazz stations.
“I quit the band in 1997,” Ritter says, “and Christina, who is also an accomplished songwriter, continued Velvet Bleu to this day and is currently touring the U.S. with a ‘Romancing the West’ show.”
Fast forward to 2013, when Ritter and Dyer, who had remained friends, decided to form a band focusing on their love of the retro swing era style music and vintage dress, and The Blue Delilahs was born.
“We wanted to do a very stylized look and sound of that era,” Ritter says.
Amy’s more recent work had been in the performance of pop/rock music, both live and in the studio. Coupled with her study of piano and choral music from an early age, she brought an accomplished ear for lead vocals and the many harmonies that are incorporated into The Blue Delilahs retro-inspired songs.
Ritter approached veteran musician/music director Lou Savage, who she had met in acting class in 1998. His credits were impressive, having performed with the likes of Cab Calloway, Eartha Kitt, Chita Rivera, Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, and many more. Signing on with The Blue Delilahs as music director, bassist, vocalist and arranger, Savage gathered the musicians to make up the rest of the band with Ron Levy, who teaches at Orange County School of the Arts, on piano and John Ferraro, who tours with Burt Bacharach, on drums.
Savage, himself a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, who also attended Berklee College of Music, writes and arranges music for the band, as well as arranges music Ritter and Dyer have written. Ritter, Dyer and Martin continue to co-write songs together via phone and Skype.
Savage credits Ritter with helping his vocal work.
“My experience with Meilissa and The Blue Delilahs has transformed my perspective in how I approach singing,” he says.
Ritter is instrumental in getting the band work. Since forming, they have performed in many venues, including a 1 1/2-year stint as one of the house bands for La Cave, Pierce Street Annex, The Wayfarer, Streamliner Café, Hip Kitty in Riverside, The Point in Dana Point, private parties for Big Horn Country Club in Palm Desert and the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Newport Beach. They just started performing at Hennessy’s Tavern in San Juan Capistrano. Private home parties, weddings, corporate events and night club acts are also a constant in their performance schedule.
For bookings, contact Melissa Ritter at 949.633.8909 or LaserChiro@gmail.com.