Review of “Cabbagetown” in Blues Magazine (Netherlands)

Blues Magazine (For the original Dutch text click here.)

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown
Format: CD / Label: Jumping Jack Records
Release date: March 17, 2017
Text: Fons Delemarre

Everyone who doesn’t appreciate the slide guitar, can skip the music of the American band Delta Moon, including the new CD ‘Cabbagetown’, without any hesitation. Apart from a drummer (Vic Stafford) [NOTE: the drummer is actually Marlon Patton] and a bass player (Franher Joseph), there are two (2!) slide guitar players in Delta Moon; Tom Gray and Mark Johnson. In the words of their label:

“Atlanta’s sultans of slide guitar; the blues and roots rock quartet Delta Moon return with their eighth studio album ‘Cabbagetown’, released March 17, 2017, on Jumping Jack Records. The follow-up to the award-winning 2015 release, ‘Low Down’, named one of the best blues records of the year by both Downbeat and Blues Music Magazine.  The new album features nine original compositions and a lively cover of Son House’s timeless classic, Death Letter.”

Which is completely accurate.

‘Cabbagetown’ consists of music with a flowing groove, with a skillful and economical instrumentation. Delta Moon proves once again how effective it can be to let the power of the music speak for itself by embracing self imposed restrictions. Of course it’s not only the slide that is featured, but that distinctive sliding sound remains the trademark of this band. Furthermore the raspy voice of Tom Gray provides a recognizable sound that colors the overall character of the band. On the surface ‘Cabbagetown’ does not appear to be very distinctive from solid albums as ‘Black Cat Oil’ (2012) and ‘Low Down’ (2015), although the album has been infused with a bit more of a rock vibe. You can’t fault ‘Cabbagetown’ with the ten new tracks by Delta Moon. Most songs pertain lovelike affairs (Just Lucky I Guess, Coolest Fools, Mad About You). However, it’s hardly believable to hear a man of a ‘certain’ age sing about those ‘one night stands’ with his ‘Rock and Roll Girl”.

According to the band it’s an “…autobiography of roots-rock dreams with a Springsteen like appeal”. Whatever rocks your boat I guess… It has to be said the opening track is actually quite pleasant. When you arrive at ‘Refugee’ the mood changes abruptly. This song is an indictment against the situation of all refugees in the world. A dark etched male voice proclaims “In this whole wide world we got nowhere to be, so we keep walking, my family and me”. The female voice adds: “It’s me, Ashja, I’ve come here on a boat, full of so many people, it could barely float. I’ve been raped and beaten…”. It’s not only the title of this particular track that reminds you of the Tom Petty song ‘Refugee’. With just a little bit of imagination you could see Petty and his Heartbreakers play this very same song. Without any doubt the most impressive track on this album. The only cover consists of a very unique approach to Death Letter by Son House. This is another song where the low-pitched speaking voice of Franher Joseph is really comes into its own.

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