Review of Low Down in Keys and Chords (Belgium)

Keys and Chords (Follow this link for the original Dutch text.)


The dual slide guitar sound of Delta Moon brings the listener into the heart of the Deep South in the States. In 2008 the American Roots Music Association awarded Tom Gray (vocals, lap steel guitar and keyboard) best Blues Songwriter of the Year. Tom was born in Washington DC, but grew up in Virginia and Georgia also had a home on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina. By chance he met his buddy Mark Johnson (guitar and banjo) in a music store in Atlanta. They formed the duo Delta Moon. The band name was made up by Mark in life after a pilgrimage to the cabin of Muddy Waters, near Clarksdale, Mississippi. When the duo of Franher Joseph on bass and Darren Stanley on drums were added to the band, they played at many festivals around Atlanta and the South. They soon gathered a lot of local music awards, but only after winning in 2003 the International Blues Challenge in Memphis did they start touring extensively throughout Canada and Europe.

Last year the quartet promoted the successful albums “Life’s A Song – Live Volume One” and “Turn Around When Possible – Live Volume Two”, a diptych of recent concert recordings. Now Darren Stanley has been replaced on drums by Marion Patton. This handsome production was recorded by Jeff Bakos and Ruairi Kilcullen. The album Low Down contains nine original songs and three tracks of striking covers. How about Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Flood “, “Lowdown” by Tom Waits and “Hard Time Killing Blues”, of course by Skip James.

The opening song “Wrong Side Of Town” is a blues rocker where Johnson plays slide on his Electro-Spanish Rickenbacker guitar. Soon we leave this catchy melody and go to New Orleans with “Afterglow”. A taste of Muddy Waters mustard was brought to the slide work in the bluesy “Nothing You Can Tell A Fool”. The rhythm of the funky “Down In The Food” is like a wild goose chase for Johnson’s guitar riffs. The drum rhythm and Gray’s harp melody form the ideal base for the swinging “Open All Night”. Another treat is driving rock “Spark In The Dark” and the intimate and acoustic “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” where inevitably the deep Delta backwater is sung. Time for some pleasant tunes in the exciting and fun “Mayfly” and the tempo-driven blues rocker “Jelly Roll”. The funky grooves of “Jacky Ray” may act as perfect ending. Tom Gray has lost none of his serene and hoarse voice. As the slide guitars are prominent, so also are subdued drum beats and leading bass lines. Each song his own accent that’s just an added value in the concept.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *