Black Cat Oil
By Hal Horowitz
The inside photo of Delta Moon’s four musicians sitting in a stark, wintry-looking yard amidst muddy puddles is a good metaphor for both the Atlanta roots-blues band’s music and the band’s stripped-down recording style. For existing fans, there are few musical revelations on the group’s seventh album, which featured 10 originals and one Mississippi Fred McDowell cover. Guitarist/songwriter Tom Gray unleashes his grainy rasp over easy-rolling yet edgy swamp boogie, energized by Mark Johnson’s always incisive, sometimes sweet guitar solos. Franher Joseph sticks to stand-up bass, providing a more rubbery attack, while the drums thump along and add percussive energy to songs such as “Jukin’” and the appropriately titled “Down and Dirty.” The latter would’ve made a perfect title for this humid and slinky set of frills-free, slide guitar-driven blues-rock, which further cements Delta Moon as one of the most distinctive acts in the crowded genre.