Samson Robinson and Kane Vinson’s friendship dates back to the fifth grade. They met after their moms became acquainted through praise dancing, which is a type of choreographed modern movement set to gospel songs.
In high school, Robinson and Vinson began recording music together, even peddling CDs out of the back of Vinson’s Cadillac in the Crandall High School parking lot.
“It was really, really bad, cringy rap,” Vinson said.
Laughing, Robinson agreed: “Yeah, we started out on a little hip-hop venture, but that was short-lived.”
Still, they didn’t lie dormant forever. The two Kaufman County natives eventually relocated to Arlington, where they formed their genre-bending group, Able Delilah. Although they’ve shed their evangelical beliefs, Robinson said their band name bares their religious roots –– Cain had Abel, and Samson had Delilah.
Able Delilah’s music may be as secular as they come, but it’s infused with the exuberance of a Pentecostal megachurch’s choir. Guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Robinson and guitarist/vocalist Vinson alternate singing duties, and both possess serious pipes. They easily shuck norms within songwriting by fusing funk, hip-hop, jazz, R&B, rock, and soul into one cohesive sound.
“It’s fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Vinson said of the songwriting process. “We don’t feel like there are any rules for making music.”
Following the release of their 2017 EP, Wasted, the duo introduced a new member to the mix, drummer Drake Fanning. It wasn’t long until the band doubled in size with the additions of bassist Adam Albin, saxophonist Zach Defour, and lead guitarist Kirby Welch.
One day in 2018, Vinson wrote a guitar riff that would spark a Big Bang moment for the band, forming the foundation for their song “August 28th.” Robinson said when he heard that lick, the vision for Able Delilah’s sound came into perfect focus.
“That was the moment where I was like, ‘We’ve got something here,’ ” Robinson said. “The song’s five minutes long, but the rest of the album was written around that five minutes.”
On the track, each member gets a moment to shine, Robinson said. There’s a righteous bass run and killer guitar and sax solos. Plus, Vinson flexes his considerable rapping skills, and Robinson’s scorching vocals take the audience to church during the last chorus.
“At the bar, you can find me / Where the music ends,” Robinson soulfully sings. “I’m-a call my crew, you can call your crew / We can all be friends / Deep under the spell of / This neon moon / You can meet me in the Cadillac / Parked ’round back / Think we’re closing soon.”
Set for release on Friday, Able Delilah’s debut album, Oh Okay, is an eight-song exercise in congruent versatility. Deftly dodging contrivance, the band manages to marry disparate influences into one bold, harmonious artistic statement.
Vinson said the group had almost finished recording the album themselves when they realized they weren’t happy with the results.
“It was like having a basketball team with no coach or a bunch of actors with no director,” he said.
They turned to audio engineer Ben Barnett (Meach Pango, Nautilus) for guidance. Robinson said the band managed to complete the album in nine days at The Hang Studios in Fort Worth. Both he and Vinson insist that Barnett’s expertise alchemized Oh Okay into sonic gold.
In addition to the album, the sextet plans to unveil a music video for the single “Wonderlost” on Friday. Robinson said it’s a “journey with Able Delilah,” with montages from live performances and studio sessions playing throughout. The group enlisted videographer Jared Phelps –– who also shot the engaging videos for “Cigarette” and “Capital Zs” – for the project, with Robinson earning a director’s credit on all three.
The guys are also looking forward to their upcoming show on Friday Feb. 21, at The Moon Bar, where they’ll open for Kyoto Lo-Fi and Sonic Buffalo. And as they do with every show, Able Delilah will likely invite their audience to dance with them as they groove with reckless abandon.
“We want to make fun music,” Robinson said. “We’re not trying to change somebody’s mind about what it is they believe. We’re just trying to get them to have a good time for a few minutes.”
8pm Fri, Feb 21, w/Kyoto Lo-Fi and Sonic Buffalo at The Moon: Bar & Live Music, 2000 W Berry St, Ste 100, FW. $10. 817-386-0724.