|Atlanta swamp rock and blues quartet Delta Moon returns with their tenth studio album “Babylon Is Falling.” The titans of tone deliver a set of infectious grooves laced with a double-barreled shot of greasy bottleneck slide guitar and lap steel, along with thought-provoking lyrics on a set of tunes that range from Delta blues to gospel, soul and Southern rock that Vintage Guitar magazine declares “Delta Moon is deep blues with a fury.” The album of five new original tracks and six inspired covers was recorded at Diamond Street Studio, Marlon Patton’s House, and Vick Stafford Studio and mixed by Jeff Bakos, one of the top amplifier techs and independent recording engineers in the Southeast.
The set opens with the call and response work song ‘Long Way To Go,’ the big vocal sound evoking The Fairfield Four accompanied by an electric band. The title track ‘Babylon Is Falling,’ finds the whiskey-soaked voice of Tom Gray preaching the blues with this timely adaptation of an old Shaker hymn that has long been associated with paramilitary groups and emancipation. This new version has the quartet updating the lyrics to reflect the political and social unrest in the U.S. today over a loping caravan beat from drummer Marlon Patton and a hypnotic chorus. Then the “Hot Lanta” group tackle the Motown classic ‘One More Heartache,’ taking the Marvin Gaye song deeper into Southern blues. Gray’s partner in crime, Mark Johnson, penned two new songs for the record, the first offering being the happy-go-lucky ramble ‘Might Take A Lifetime,’ that features his clever country pickin’. The fellas trade licks on a romp through R.L. Burnside’s Hill Country two-beat blues ‘Skinny Woman,’ then pay tribute to fallen hero Tom Petty with a lovely acoustic reading of a deep cut from his Mudcrutch days ‘Louisiana Rain.’ Gray waxes poetic about the attributes of his favorite tough girl on the slinky ‘Little Pink Pistol,’ and the groove stays funky on the twisty update of gospel blues staple ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’
Gray steps into the role of Chester Burnett on the lowdown blues ‘Somebody In My Home,’ blowing blues harp and snarling like the late great Howlin’ Wolf. The upbeat boogie ‘One Mountain At A Time,’ is a study in cockeyed optimism and perseverance. The album closes with the nostalgic trip to the bayou ‘Christmas Time In New Orleans,’ with its formula of colorfully descriptive lyrics, spooky swamp groove and doubling of the vocals on slide guitar that has become the Delta Moon musical archetype.
The artistic and alluring album “Babylon Is Falling” once again demonstrates the mastery of southern roots and blues that has propelled Delta Moon forward for the last two decades.
Rick J Bowen
“I couldn’t imagine life without being able to play music,” says Delta Moon’s Mark Johnson. “We call ourselves lifers. We will play until we simply can’t do it anymore.”
He and bandmate Tom Gray have been doing it a while now, laying down double slide guitar improvisations that often seem downright telepathic. It has been two decades since they started playing together — Mark on bottleneck slide and Tom on lap steel — first in Tom’s studio, and then in clubs, coffee shops and barbecue joints around Atlanta. The name Delta Moon came to Mark on a pilgrimage to Muddy Waters’ cabin near Clarksdale, Mississippi, when a brilliant full moon rose over the highway. With the addition of bass and drums Delta Moon quickly gathered a wall-full of local “best” awards. After winning the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January of 2003, the band went on that year to play the prestigious Montreal Jazz Fest and other festivals, theaters and clubs across America and England. They have worked steadily on the road and in the studio ever since, recording critically acclaimed albums and crisscrossing the United States, Canada and Europe. Bassist Franher Joseph joined Delta Moon as a permanent member in 2007, adding a solid pocket and rich bass vocals.
- Delta Moon won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003.
- The Roots Music Association named lead vocalist Tom Gray Blues 2008 Songwriter of the Year. Tom has long been well known in the music industry as a songwriter, having penned Cyndi Lauper’s hit “Money Changes Everything” as well as songs recorded by Manfred Mann, Carlene Carter, Bonnie Bramlett and many others.
- Delta Moon’s music has been featured in television programs on Showtime, Lifetime, the Food Network and more.
- Delta Moon tours extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe.
- Delta Moon’s 2015 album Low Down was named one of the year’s best by both Downbeat and Blues Music Magazine.