"Tom Gray and partner in crime Mark Johnson continue to show why they may be the best guitar tandem around." - Chris Martin, The Examiner.
With the release of their seventh album Black Cat Oil in 2012, Delta Moon expands upon the sound that has sold thousands of records and allowed them to play for thousands of fans worldwide over the past several years. And with a live show second-to-none, the dual slide guitars of Delta Moon carry the listener deep into the heart of the American South, where sinuous Mississippi blues meets the gritty backwoods twang of Appalachia and winds around a rock-steady beat like kudzu on a barbwire fence. Net Rhythms calls it "Music as it should be - raw and honest." We call it a voice, two slides and a groove.
Delta Moon's music is a strong mix of personalities and sounds. A chance meeting in an Atlanta, GA music store brought the two founders, Tom Gray and Mark Johnson, together. Tom tried to sell Mark a Dobro out of the back of his van. Tom remembers the girl with Mark whispering, "Let's get out of here." Mark didn't buy the guitar, but the two exchanged phone numbers and soon were playing together regularly in coffee shops and barbecue joints around Atlanta. Mark came up with the name Delta Moon after a pilgrimage to Muddy Waters' cabin near Clarksdale, Mississippi.
After adding a rock-solid rhythm section, Delta Moon started playing nightclubs and festivals around South, quickly gathering a wall-full of local "best" awards, including winning the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003. With much attention from the IBC Award, Delta Moon widened its travels to include the US, Canada, and Europe. In 2007 drummer Darren Stanley and bassist Franher Joseph joined Delta Moon. The two had played together since they first met in the University of Georgia marching band, when Darren played snare and Franher played Sousaphone. The band's work ethic of constant recording and touring continues into 2012 as the band travels to Germany, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Canada, the U.S. and more.
More about Tom Gray: The American Roots Music Association named Tom Gray 2008 Blues Songwriter of the Year. His songs have been recorded by Cyndi Lauper (including the hit "Money Changes Everything"), Manfred Mann, Carlene Carter, Bonnie Bramlett and many others. Tom was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Virginia and Georgia, but home was always the family farm in the North Carolina mountains. In the 1980s he led a rock group, The Brains, that recorded two albums on Mercury Records. Originally a keyboard player, Tom picked up his first lap steel guitar in the late 1980s and hasn't put it down yet.
More about Mark Johnson: While not born in the South, Mark Johnson did grow up in a trailer park in Ravenna, Ohio. His uncle owned a record store, and there was always music in the Johnson home. Mark played guitar in bands all through high school. In the early 1990s he moved to Atlanta, where he formed a band called the Rude Northerners. About that time he abandoned standard tuning and became obsessed with bottleneck slide.