Delta Moon

Delta Moon is an American swamp blues, blues rock, and blues band. They originated in Inman Park, Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The group's name came to founder member, Mark Johnson, whilst on a pilgrimage to Muddy Waters' cabin near Clarksdale, Mississippi.[2] In 2003, Delta Moon won the International Blues Challenge.[3] They have released a number of albums on various record labels, including Low Down, which Down Beat magazine named in their "best albums of 2015".[4]

Delta Moon
OriginInman Park, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
GenresSwamp blues, blues rock, blues[1]
Years activeLate 1990s–present
LabelsVarious including Delta Moon, Fontana North, Red Parlor Records and ZYX Music
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersTom Gray
Mark Johnson
Franher Joseph
Vic Stafford
Past membersGina Leigh
Kristin Markiton

Referring to the band's twin guitar-led sound, Chicago Sun-Times stated "Gray and Johnson's double-slide style works to perfection."[2]


One of the band's founders, Tom Gray, was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Arlington County, Virginia and Georgia. His family home is located in the North Carolina mountains.[5] He is the former songwriter, vocalist and keyboard player of the 1980s new wave band, The Brains. Gray wrote their most notable song "Money Changes Everything" (1978), which was successfully covered by Cyndi Lauper in 1984.[3] By the late 1980s, he started playing the lap steel guitar.[5] He is the band's main songwriter, and his songs have been recorded by Cyndi Lauper, Manfred Mann, Carlene Carter, and Bonnie Bramlett, amongst others. In 2008, the Roots Music Association named him the 'Blues Songwriter of the Year'.[6]

The other founding band member, Mark Johnson, was born Ravenna, Ohio. He played guitar in high school bands before relocating in the early 1990s to Atlanta, Georgia, forming the Rude Northerners,[2] and then worked with another Atlanta band, The Crawdads.[7] He graduated from standard tuning and began playing bottleneck slide guitar.[5]

A chance meeting in an Atlanta music store brought Gray and Johnson into contact and they began playing together in local clubs.[2] The duo were later joined by the female singer Gina Leigh and expanded their performing range.[7] Delta Moon's self-titled debut album, which was released on their own label in 2002, contained a cover version of Son House's "Preachin' the Blues".[3]

In 2003, Delta Moon won the International Blues Challenge.[3] The same year they performed at the Sarasota Blues Fest. They also appeared at the Bull Durham Blues Festival.[8] In June 2003, Delta Moon released Live, recorded at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, which was followed in 2004 by Goin' Down South. The album included a cover of the David Bowie and Iggy Pop penned "Nightclubbing," whilst "Shake Something Loose" was co-written by Gray with Randall Bramblett.[9] Later that year Leigh left the band, and was replaced by Kristin Markiton.[7] Howlin' was their fourth album in as many years and included tracks written by Frank Edwards ("Put Your Arms Around Me") and Jessie Mae Hemphill ("Lovin' in the Moonlight").[1] In 2007, further personnel changes saw Darren Stanley, originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia, join on drums alongside bassist Franher Joseph.[5]

Clear Blue Flame (2007) saw Delta Moon without a female singer since their early days, following the departure of Markiton. One of the album's tracks was "Jessie Mae", which was dedicated to and about the blues singer Jessie Mae Hemphill. In addition, Gray reworked "Money Changes Everything" to incorporate a fiddle section quite unlike either the Brains' or Lauper's arrangements. The title track stated that "good moonshine burns with a clear, blue flame".[10] Hell Bound Train (2010) was the band's fifth studio album.[11] In 2012, Black Cat Oil, followed a Delta Moon tradition by closing the set of tracks with a cover; this time with Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Write Me a Few of Your Lines".[12] Two live albums were self released in 2013; Life's A Song - Live Volume One and Turn Around When Possible - Live Volume 2.[13] Blues411 named Turn Around When Possible one of the "best live blues albums of that year".[6] In 2015, the addition of Vic Stafford completed the current line-up.[2]

Delta Moon's album, Low Down, was released in May 2015, and included nine original songs penned by Gray, and covers of tracks written by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Skip James. In January 2016, Down Beat magazine named Low Down in the "best albums of 2015".[14] Vintage Guitar noted that "Delta Moon is deep blues with a fury... Hot stuff!"[2]

Band members



  • Gina Leigh – vocals
  • Kristin Markiton – vocals



2002 Delta MoonCD Baby / Delta Moon
2003 LiveCD Baby / Delta Moon
2004 Goin' Down SouthCD Baby / Delta Moon
2005 Howlin' Delta Moon
2007 Clear Blue FlameJumping Jack Records
2010 Hell Bound TrainFontana North / Red Parlor Records
2012 Black Cat OilZYX Music / Red Parlor Records
2013 Life's A Song - Live Volume OneSelf-released
2013 Turn Around When Possible - Live Volume 2Self-released
2015 Low DownHeartfixer Music / Jumping Jack Records
2017 CabbagetownJumping Jack Records
2018 Babylon is FallingLandslide Records



  1. Hal Horowitz. "Howlin' - Delta Moon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  2. "Biography". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  3. Atlanta Magazine. p. 102. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  4. "News". 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  5. "About Delta Moon | Delta Moon Ramblings". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  6. "DELTA MOON (USA) : Suwałki Blues Festival". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  7. "Delta Moon's Biography — Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and photos at". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  8. Michael Regan (2009-12-15). The 2010 Raleigh North Carolina Area Real Estate Guide: Raleigh, Cary, Apex ... p. 117. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  9. Hal Horowitz (2004-06-15). "Goin' Down South - Delta Moon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  10. Hal Horowitz (2007-07-24). "Clear Blue Flame - Delta Moon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  11. Hal Horowitz. "Hell Bound Train - Delta Moon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  12. Hal Horowitz (2012-05-22). "Black Cat Oil - Delta Moon | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  13. "Delta Moon Discography". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  14. Gray, Tom (2016-06-22). "News". Delta Moon. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  15. "Delta Moon | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
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