“Hell Bound Train” review in Playground (Columbus, GA)

Delta Moon
Hell Bound Train

Red Parlor Records

By Curtis Lynch
Playground Magazine

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.

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