“Tom Gray and Mark Johnson are the rusty, banged up Cadillacs of the slide guitar, side by side coughing up smoke and spitting backwoods dirt, but unswerving in their precision and singular style. Gray and Johnson form the axis of Delta Moon, and their slippery, rousing blend of delta-style blues and rock ’n’ roll consciousness never fails to be gutsy and mesmerizing.” - Tom Clarke, Hittin’ the Note
“Gray and Johnson’s double-slide style works to perfection." - Chicago Sun-Times
"Clear Blue Flame burns hot enough to prove Delta Moon has found its true voice, it's just a shame it took this long." - Relix
“A masterful work of musicianship combined with talented singing and songwriting. The use of the slide guitars is magical.” - Roots Music Report
“Tight playing, memorable melodies and a gutsy sense of red clay rebelliousness found all too rarely in pre-packaged contemporary blues rock.” - All Music Guide
“One of the best blues albums of the year.” - Mountain Times
"Music as it should be - raw and honest." - NetRhythms (UK)
“Classic work! Keep rockin’, Delta Moon!” - Rocktimes (Germany)
Tom Gray and Mark Johnson first met in an Atlanta music store. When Tom tried to sell Mark a Dobro guitar out of the trunk of his car, the girl with Mark started whispering, “Let’s get out of here.” Mark didn’t buy the guitar, but he and Tom exchanged phone numbers. Soon the two were getting together regularly, Tom playing lap steel and Mark on bottleneck slide guitar.
At first, neither gave a thought to the idea of forming a double slide guitar band. Then Mark saw Ry Cooder and David Lindley perform together at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. “It was like a light came on over my head,” Mark said. “I thought, that’s what Tom and I do.” The two, along with singer Gina Leigh and a rotating cast of drummers and bassists, formed Delta Moon. Their idea was to weave the two slide guitars into one big sound, in the tradition of great two-guitar bands like the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, and the early Fleetwood Mac.
Playing clubs and festivals around Atlanta and the South,the band quickly gathered a wall full of local “best” awards. After Delta Moon won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003, the band widened its travel to include the western US, Canada, and Europe. Gina Leigh left the band in 2004, and Kristin Markiton sang with the band for the next year and half. Then Delta Moon decided to continue as a quartet with Tom Gray writing and singing all the lyrics.
“I didn’t start out to sing lead in this band,” says Tom, “but like kudzu I’ve taken over.” Actually, he has plenty of experience fronting a band. In his pre-lap-steel days Tom was songwriter, vocalist, and keyboard player for a group called The Brains that recorded two albums on Mercury. His songs have been recorded by Cyndi Lauper, Manfred Mann, Carlene Carter and many other artists. Since becoming the band's sole front person, Tom has felt freer to cut loose on stage. "I can step wherever I want now," he says. "Mine are the only toes up here."
Released in August 2007, Clear Blue Flame features ten original songs and one obscure cover, showing Delta Moon’s unique sound focused like never before. Tom brings his songwriting credentials to the table with a fresh take on his biggest hit, “Money Changes Everything.” New songs like “Blind Spot,” “Cool Your Jets” and “Life’s a Song,” show that his songwriting has lost none of its edge. The final cut, a classic Mississippi Fred McDowell song called “You Done Told Everybody,” demonstrates the genesis of Delta Moon with a recording of Mark and Tom playing acoustic slide guitars and stomping their feet in an impromptu session.
Other players on Clear Blue Flame include Tyler Greenwell on drums, Ted Pecchio on bass, Chris Long on bass and backing vocals, and Zebulon Bowles adding fiddle on “Money Changes Everything.”