Black Cat Oil
By Lee Zimmerman
While some roots outfits aspire to be more than they are, venturing into territory where they don’t feel quite at ease, Delta Moon’s never professed to be any more than what they are, a well-entrenched blues band of above average means. They also boast an ample pedigree, with a list of regional awards to prove it. The band’s two front men, Tom Gray and Mark Johnson, frame the songs (mostly written by Gray, who earned his stripes penning his old band The Brains’ – and Cyndi Lauper’s smash cover – “Money Changes Everything”) around their dueling lead guitars and the band’s penchant for sinewy grooves.
Not surprisingly then, Black Cat Oil doesn’t tinker with that formula – if anything, it embraces it – and for the most part, it occupies its time with basic blues of the southern swamp variety. The sway and shuffle of songs such as “Black Cat Oil,” “Wishbone” and “Black Coffee” form the core of the album, but the weary musings of ‘Walk Out in the River” and “Neon Jesus” add an emotional connection that grounds the effort with bruised remorse. Blues enthusiasts will find much to admire, given the band’s devotion to this singular roots regimen.