An Article by Brenda Germany
Photos by Stephen Anderson
Like the haze that rises from a river delta field in the moonlit dampness of hot summer nights, Delta Smoke’s rich vocal harmonies fuse with haunting guitar and harmonica melodies to waft and swirl in the listener’s mind remaining there long after being heard. This recipient of the 2018 Nappie Award for Best New Local Band has received much acclaim along the Gulf Coast and when asked about the origin of Delta Smoke, band members Jake Burford (vocals/guitar) and Kyle Johnson (vocals/harmonica), revealed that the inspiration for the band’s name, indeed, rises from the fertile soil surrounding the Mobile River near their homes in Alabama.
Many times as we take backward glances at our lives, we can see Fate’s hand directing the path of things to come. Such was definitely the case for Jake Burford and Kyle Johnson. Prior to entering the music field, they met by chance when Kyle, then employed by a national paint retailer, filled a paint order for Jake, a painter. Neither could have fathomed at that point that the future held much more for them than friendship.
Jake Burford of Delta Smoke at Callaghan’s in Mobile, AL
When composing, Burford hears the notes in his mind intuitively as the music unfolds from his thoughts. Johnson, conversely, feels the melodies flow through him fully formed and immediately plays the song. Delta Smoke’s talent and artistry in composition is clearly evidenced by the matching and phrasing of their lyrics to each meticulously crafted track on their first EP “Dark Whiskey Romance”, engineered by Greg DeLuca of the Mulligan Brothers. Also lending their considerable musical talents to the recording were the Mulligan Brothers’ bassist Ben Leininger, drummer and bassist Greg DeLuca and the Red Field’s guitarist, Caleb Murph as lead guitar.
Kyle Johnson of Delta Smoke at Callaghan’s in Mobile, AL
Delta Smoke can regularly be seen at venues across the Gulf Coast including Callaghan’s Irish Social Club and The Brickyard of Mobile, AL; Manci’s Antique Club of Daphne, AL and Jack’s by the Tracks of Pascagoula, MS.