Down and Dirty Blues

Clear Blue Flame (Jumping Jack Records)
Delta Moon

By Andrea Hunt

In the title track and album opener of Delta Moon's fifth album, Clear Blue Flame, Tom Gray sings, "All whiskey ain't the same/Good moonshine burns with a clear blue flame."

Among bluesy rock acts, Delta Moon definitely falls in the "good moonshine" category. Composed of Gray and Mark Johnson, Delta Moon has a unique sound characterized by interwoven guitar melodies that has earned the duo comparisons to prolific two-guitar acts the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers.

Although Clear Blue Flame is the first Delta Moon album not to feature a female lead singer, Gray's gritty vocals, coupled with slide guitars, help to define the band's timeless sound: mellow, bluesy Southern rock that begs to be played live and that won the band the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003.

Before singing lead vocals in Delta Moon, Tom Gray had established himself as a proficient songwriter with a No. 1 hit, "Money Changes Everything," which was recorded by Cindy Lauper. A decidedly swampier version of the track appears on Clear Blue Flame, albeit sans Cindy.

In addition to the smoldering opener, the energetic "Jessie Mae" and guitar-laden "Lap Dog" are notable tracks. In fact, on this remarkably even album, no tracks stand out as weak.

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