DELTA MOON – Low Down
Format: CD. Label: Jumping Jack Records. Release Date: May 5, 2015
By Fons Delemarre
Blues Magazine (Follow this link for the original Dutch text)
March 10, 2015
There are moments that you — even when listening to blues — hear music that you do not yet know. In other words, you hear music you did not know existed. What makes it even more special is that then also the music turns out to be a band with four (yes, only four) musicians. The instrumentation is not very special: two guitars, bass, drums. The clue lies in the guitarists: they both play slide. Redundant, would you say, one “normal” guitar and a slide provides more combinations. Not in the case of the American band Delta Moon.
Some years ago I saw them in the Leiden Q-Bus (see * at the end of this review) and I was flabbergasted. Understated, sparsely instrumented music and a quirky, original voice, recognizable out of thousands. A golden combination that seems to work perfectly, not least because guitarist/lead singer Tom Gray is a gifted songwriter.The band has a very unique sound; if you want to compare it to something then maybe think of JJ Cale-like structure and tone of songs, but with much more much more zip and variety and more complete numbers than the musical sketches that JJ Cale often makes.
In 2009, came the album You’ll Never Get to Heaven on a Hellbound Train, in 2012 Black Cat Oil. Both beautiful and intriguing CDs, culminating in the song “Neon Jesus” on Black Cat Oil. And now there is a new CD: Low Down. Nine tracks from Tom Gray, two of them with guitarist Mark Johnson and bassist Franher Joseph; the new drummer — Vic Staff — has not (yet) co-written. On Low Down there are also three covers: the title song by Tom Waits, “Down in the Flood” by Dylan and “Hard Times Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James.
It is not necessary to visit the numbers one by one. They should really all go together. Remarkably, unlike previous albums, this one occasionally switches into high gear (“Wrong Side of Town”, “Open All Night”). Even straightforward rock is not shunned (“Lowdown”). But for the rest it is above all an especially smooth groove, with occasionally a hint of boogie (“Jelly Roll”). Those who care only for scudding guitars, thundering drums and screeching vocals definitely should ignore Low Down. For all other blues and groove lovers there is a wonderful CD on the horizon: Low Down by Delta Moon! If you want to see them you have to travel to America, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Italy and Spain. The Netherlands is unfortunately not on the tour schedule. Not yet, but I hope …
* Concert Q-Bus in Leiden is threatened with closure. Many bands that you see on our site have played there. There is a signature campaign was launched to bring the church to change its mind. You can sign on http://petities.nl/petitie/steun-de-qbus-leiden