Review: Delta Moon – Low Down

Posted on: Saturday, Oct 17, 2015


Delta Moon – Low Down

(Jumping Jack/Landslide Records: 12015)

There are bands that go against the tide or rail against the accepted norms and fashions and then again there are bands that simply play good music, picking up amazed and awestruck fans as they troubadour along the road. Delta Moon are such a band, sailing under the radar playing a rapturous and alluring mixture of very mellow swampy Southern roots grooves and captivating Hill Country music.

The Atlanta-based band that consists of Tom Gray; Lead vocals and lap steel, guitar, keyboards and harmonica, Mark Johnson; Guitar and backing vocals, Franher Joseph; Bass and backing vocals with Marlon Patton; supplying Drums and percussion. The atmospheric backing vocals are provided by Anna Kramer and Francine Reed.

The simple and winning secret of their unique attraction is that Tom uses a lap steel guitar as the lead instrument with Mark also adding underpinning slide work, while Franher and Marlon create a sinuously creamy and luscious rhythmic back beat, floating above all this is Toms’ hoarse but, sweetly soft, gentle whispering vocals, which seem to have been thoroughly marinated in Southern Comfort, which gives their music a laid back, warm and contented feel, very much like J.J. Cale’s distinctive delivery.

They have been together since the turn of the century quietly playing across the world in their own particular style. Of the twelve numbers here there are three covers the first being the title track Tom Waits and Kate Brennan “Lowdown”, which is a splendid syrupy, swampy, steel laden hip twisting tale of lowlife law/outlaw love. Dylan’s “Down In The Flood”, is in a similar vein but with a rockier Hill Country influence and features an irresistible slide solo; while Skip James’s stark “Hard Times Killing Floor Blues”, is carried along on an alluring but, haunting and almost spectral weeping slide, backed with a solemn, melancholy acoustic guitar and kick drum, Tom’s sorrowful vocals only add to the poignancy.

The jaunty, footapping and swinging “Jelly Roll”, contains sweet rich steel pickings and a very inviting call and response chorus which you simply cannot refuse to answer. The moreishly repetitive and soul stirring slowburner that is “Jackie Ray”, has an urging, lap steel so low that it and you can but only sweetly rise up to the heavens. “Wrong Side of Town”, leads with a rocking, rising lap steel that most definitely will have you footstomping in the aisles, while the backbeat gently pummels you into submission.

The gospel/Bo Diddley infused “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool”, has the lap steel splendidly cock crowing and will have you enthusiastically chicken like nodding and walking round the room. On the dark and brooding “Mean Streak”, the lap steel is urgently moaning, screeching and wailing like a Police siren!

This is not simply just laid back it is horizontal, wonderful!



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