Hell Bound Train
By Mark Uricheck
Don’t let the band’s name fool you. Sure, Delta Moon has an ominous, Mississippi Delta vibe, but the band is more about gritty, southern-tinged storytelling and creating an atmosphere for their casual, roots-based rhythms, not simply a vehicle for deep acoustic blues.
Built on a foundation of solid blues, the band adds a fresh, expressive vision to its sound on its latest album, Hell Bound Train. These guys don’t recycle the same old Albert King licks or Texas-boogie patterns, they’d rather take advantage of ideas like a thick and economical slide riff, played over a slightly off-kilter shuffle, while the gravel-throated voice of Tom Gray spills soul throughout (“True Love Lies”). They also employ haunting, tremolo-laced guitar tones within a funky grove, rippling with seductive saxophone to great effect (“Stuck in Carolina”). The pure acoustic Delta sound does rear its head, with a sparse, angelic cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Got to Move,” while a gruff sense of countrified charm turns up in the rousing “Take the Back Road Home.”
Distilling the blues through their ragged, Dixie-inspired songwriting and stimulating sense of musicianship, Delta Moon emerges as a standout within the Americana genre.