Hell Bound Train
Red Parlor Records
I’ve been following Delta Moon since their first record in 2002 and before that, guitarist Tom Gray’s previous band The Brains, a group that fell under a new-wave umbrella that was opened so wide and so often in the 80s that even Tom Petty was underneath its shadow. Delta Moon, however, is a roots-blues band that has little to do with Tom Petty and even less to do with new-wave. After recording with a couple of female vocalists, the band settled in with Gray as lead vocalist and the current lineup, which has been together since 2007, has evolved into a searing roadhouse blues unit, capable of simmering as well as boiling.
Hell Bound Train, their seventh, is a white-knuckled ride through a Southern gothic landscape where the branches of family trees groan and strain under the weight of loss and tragedy, too often self-inflicted. Gray’s lap steel and Mark Johnson’s electric slide toss off tandem leads over drummer Darren Stanley and bassist Franher Joseph’s red-clay rhythms across the eleven tracks here (although the closer, “Plantation Song,” is Gray solo on dobro) and create their best record yet. And I emphasize “yet.” Because Delta Moon just keeps getting better.
When Hell Bound Train stops near you, jump on board.