Review of Cabbagetown in Roots Highway (Italy)

Roots Highway (For the original Italian text click here.)

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

Tom Gray and Mark Johnson first met several years ago in an Atlanta record store. Both slide guitarists, it took them a short time before forming a band, rather unusual for the presence of the double slide that still characterizes the group’s sound with Gray’s dirty voice. After winning the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003, the band from Georgia started recording and traveling the world on a regular basis, complemented by Franher Joseph on bass since 2007 and the last arrival Marlon Patton on drums, owner of the studio where the new disc was recorded.
From their eponymous debut of 2002 the band has come to Cabbagetown through six studio albums and three live, achieving an admirable balance between the two slides (to which are added the lap steel and mandoguitar played by Johnson) that contribute to the Southern-flavored laid-back sound. Perhaps this aspect is a limit: Delta Moon sometimes seem a bit lazy, as students who do not apply 100% … are good, but could do better. The opening of “Rock And Roll Girl” is emblematic of the quartet’s sound: mid-tempo roots drawled (a little ‘to J. J. Cale), lap steel lazy and incisive at the same time, with female backing vocals. “The Day Before Tomorrow” picks up the pace, while maintaining the impression of laziness, while in the acoustic blues “Just Lucky I Guess” you appreciate the Haitian Joseph on double bass and Gray’s acoustic guitar accompanying Johnson’s pungent slide.

If “Coolest Fools” seems a bit obvious, it is balanced by the intense “Refugee”, a talking blues and denouncing the Night. “Mad About You” includes a solo Johnson all’elettrica. The only cover is Son H0use’s “Death Letter”, approached so unusually both from the musical point of view and the vocal. The mid-tempo blues of the “21st Century Man” and the instrumental hearted “Cabbagetown Shuffle” accompany us to the closing entrusted to the rhythmic roots-rock “Sing Together”.  Another good album for a band that has just started yet another European tour that will pass through our country in the second decade of April.

  • Fabio
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