Peter Tomkins in RnR Magazine (November/December 2020)
The trouble with Southern rock, particularly on an album with such a deep-rooted New Orleans sound, is that we always reach for the same metaphor. So, I am going to avoid using the obvious analogy. Let’s start instead by asserting that John Blangero is a great pianist with a wonderful, soulful voice, like Van Morrison if he had been raised on the Mississippi delta. And Delta Tales has some big songs, from the up-tempo, horn-section-driven ‘Love Turns Grey’ to the more-laid-back ballads like ‘Down the Delta Road’.
This is a return to music for Blangero after losing himself in the world of academia, becoming one of the leading researchers into human genetics. But sitting in with blues bands got him back into the groove and he has picked up where his classic rock roots left off; Delta Tales could have been part of the explosion of Southern rock from the 70s: a little bit of Leon Russell, songs, by Dan Penn, and a pinch of the Night Tripper stirred into the mix.
Produced by veteran producer Steven ‘Ace’ Acker, this is a rich sound – achieved through overdubs recorded remotely after the coronavirus lockdown struck. ‘Drive Me To Nashville’ stirs country-soul, blues and rock into this spicy gumbo (Hey sometimes you just have to go with the metaphor.)