What Does It Mean?

Delta Moon Celle Germany

“What does it mean to be from this country
Would take their brother man, bind him in slavery
And be willing to die before they’d set him free?
Still I’m proud to be from Dixie.”
– Delta Moon, “Plantation Song”

“There are other Souths beyond the white Confederate South…. My South didn’t lose the war. We won.”
Natasha Trethewey

If you’re going to dig to any depth, the only place to start is the surface. But in writing songs for the last few Delta Moon albums, maybe I’ve been guilty of sometimes staying too shallow and heavyhanded in writing songs about the South. I see now how that can be a mistake. My writing and the band’s sound will remain Southern, because that’s who we are. There’s no need to lean on it. Our South may not be Robert E. Lee’s or George Wallace’s or Steve Earle’s or Natasha Trethewey’s, but that doesn’t make it any less real. We’ve got our own true story, and it’s one no one else can tell.

I have no regrets, though, writing a song about moonshine. Despite a few snooty comments in Northern reviews, “Clear Blue Flame” still rings true to me. It has also opened the door to many pleasant moments on the road. People like to share, and we appreciate their generosity. The quality of white liquor out there today is generally quite high, nothing like the stuff my high school buddy and I used to swipe from his brother-in-law’s garage. Moonshine seems to be enjoying a quiet renaissance in the South, a sort of shadowy parallel to the craft beer movement.

So now we embark on a new journey, writing Delta Moon’s next album. This one may have no moonshine or trains in it. Since my health is back, the CD promises to be pretty rocking. Mark’s come up with some good guitar grooves. In fact, he wants to make this album all about hypnotic grooves and not about songs at all. I’ve got my own ideas. There’s bound to be some head butting before we’re done, but I’m hoping we can blend forces.

(Photo by Christine Maass)

8 replies
  1. KF
    KF says:

    Well this damned old ‘transplanted to the south’ Yankee loves Clear Blue Flame. I look forward to your next CD and some rocking guitar grooves sounds like a great plan to me.

  2. Dennis L
    Dennis L says:

    I’m a fairly recent fan (from CT), have purchased a few albums so far (more to come), and quite honestly, cannot get enough of your sound. They say you should write what you know about..so keep it goin’ – please! Looking forward to your next foray up this way (hopefully close by) and cannot wait for more Delta Moon sound. Thank YOU!

  3. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Another northerner by way of the Pacific NW and Ontario, Canada and not turned off by southern references. Go with your gut. You guys always create magic.

  4. Ian Baldwin
    Ian Baldwin says:

    I promoted a gig here in the south of England last weekend with the wonderful Nimmo Brothers and ‘Clear Blue Flame ‘was on the interval playlist. It went down a treat !!!

    Tom, I contacted your UK agent for a quote. The problem I have is that you have been away from the UK for quite a while and I may struggle to sell enough tickets just to make ends meet. How much negotiation are you open to?

  5. Kent D
    Kent D says:

    Tom – sounds like you have found some soul for the next CD – maybe for the next bunch. Clear Blue Flame is still my Delta Moon favourite (spelled Canadian, even tho I’m in Raw-lay). And if I know anything, you shouldn’t listen to Mark! Although your guys solos and trade-offs (even as a whole band) are SUPER SWEET at live shows… so maybe Mark is on to something…
    Whatever you guys venture on to for your next album, I’ll be there. Always. Your stories and music are some of the best in any part of the world!


  6. Peter W
    Peter W says:

    My South is Robert E Lee and Martin Luther King and George Washington and Robert Smalls (Charleston). There are women too. Eliza Pinckney and Rosa Parks. All these people had the courage and strength to stand up with integrity. All had dark shadows but their integrity and attempt to do right for others is what is outstanding. Race and gender doesn’t keep a Southerner from standing up for others and the truth.


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