(Translated from Polish)
By Ryszard Gloger
For starters a cool story, like a scene from a movie. In a music store in Atlanta, Georgia, two blues fans meet. They are both guitarists. One tries to sell the other Dobro guitar. Soon Tom Gray and Mark Johnson start a band together. One who has not heard the group Delta Moon might expect that as a quartet it indulges in a fierce guitar battle. None of these things. Gray and Johnson are one of the most creative tandems leading a blues band. Both adore slide technique, both are able to compose neat pieces, cleverly arrange them and of course, sing. Tom Gray has picked up in the past several prizes and distinctions as a composer. The eleventh album, in turn, brings nine such new compositions and three songs of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Skip James. The music of the disc comes as if filtered slowly with taste of whiskey. There is no violent eruption of energy, attacking play and sound of a two-guitar avalanche. For it is softness and warmth swinging rhythm melody songs, sung by Gray without affectation, in a slightly husky voice. The sharpness of the recording gives a round shape to the moaning guitars. Sometimes only, as in the song “Mean Streak,” the musicians allow themselves more and then the guitars really come through with redoubled force. What is interesting, among the traditional drumming and natural sounds, here and there appear gentle sounds of feedback or modulation. The Tom Waits composition “Lowdown” recalls in arranging the best of times of the band Canned Heat. In the Bob Dylan song “Down in the Flood” backing vocals performed by Francine Reed add a strong element. On the other hand, “Hard Times Killing Floor Blues” keeps the archaic atmosphere but becomes a form of blues anthem thanks to the ornaments of wailing guitars and backing vocals. Often on this disc appears the climate of the music of JJ Cale or archaic blues. So play musicians who have blues in their blood.