By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 18, 2008 at 5:07 AM

If you're basing everything on its name -- and the fact that The Up & Under Pub has become its honorary "home venue" -- The Delta Routine could easily come across as a blues band.

But based on the band's sound, you'd be more likely to peg the trio as classically-tweaked bar rock.

But ask the members -- Nick Amadeus (guitar / vocals), Lewis Gatford (bass) and Kyle Ciske (drums) -- and they'll tell you that the crux of the band lies somewhere in the grey area that exists between stringent music labels.

The Delta Routine takes pieces of the past -- a bit of the Rolling Stones, a hint of The Who -- and transforms that inspiration into a more modern take on the rawness of the gritty genre.

But when it comes down to it, no matter how many decades it's had to evolve, rock 'n' roll is still grounded in what it's always been grounded in: Girls. And The Delta Routine's debut full-length album, "Donna," is a case in point.

"Collectively, I would probably have to say this album is about the great and not-so-great women in and out of my life," says principle songwriter Amadeus. In the rock world of heartbreak set to song, he is hardly alone. Still, "Donna" has a unique way of expressing what could be a sappy sentiment as something a lot more fun.

The CD -- released Jan. 19 and produced by Mike Hoffmann, of E.I.E.I.O. fame, and who worked with The Verve Pipe and the Violent Femmes -- plays out like the soundtrack to a good night out. It's very Milwaukee in nature; that is to say, it's eager and energetic, loads of fun and goes down as smoothly as a pint of Pabst.

And although Amadeus admits the blues have an enormous influence on his band -- so much so that an early Delta song, "One Day in the Rain," received nomination for best blues song of the year by the Independent Music Awards -- he says the band name is not a reference to the Delta blues, one of the earliest and most influential forms of the genre.

"We are influenced by all sorts of different genres of music," he says. "Delta is the Greek symbol for change, and Routine suggests a pattern. I guess it's just a paradox."

Paradoxes aside, one thing is straightforward and clear: The Delta Routine is determined to make a Milwaukee impact. We think it's on the right track.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”