Record Review - 5 July 01 2004

Goin’ Down South is a challenging addition to Delta Moon’s catalogue. Although it boasts one of the group’s finest offerings, the verdant murder ballad “Poplar Grove,” the recording feels like a crossroads where modern pop and rock songwriting coalesces with primitive Americana. The band’s result is a rustic and nimble-fingered sound. Though filtering such dirty dynamism through spotless production qualities presents a slightly skewed version of the music. Fans and newcomers to Delta Moon will appreciate the clarity with which each song is presented here.

For those accustomed to the raw energy of the group’s live presence, Goin’ Down South is a Moon of a different color. “Dreams Come Real” is a sedate number that encapsulates the group’s delicate balance of vocal and instrumental arrangements. Every note and every nuance is placed with meticulous care. With previous outings this sense of perfectionism has been masked by the searing clash of dueling slide guitars and seamless male/female vocal interplay.

The womanly sentiments in “Stone Cold Man” and “Nobody Knows” juxtaposed with a sullen rocker like “I’ll Die Trying,” instills a sense of unmistakable maturity that’s tailor-made for fans of everyone from the Allman Brothers to Palace Brothers. “Nightclubbing” is a bucolic rendition of the David Bowie/Iggy Pop song, proving that although Delta Moon churns out a groove for adults that embrace some very traditional influences, there’s nothing conventional about its approach.

Delta Moon plays the Earl Thurs., July 8. 9 p.m. $5.