Anyone who's seen JJ Grey and Mofro since 2008 knows how the sparks that fly from their studio recordings catch fire when the band plays live. The audio component of Brighter Days, a combination CD and DVD set, proceeds almost breathlessly as the successive cuts appear at an ardent pace. Recorded in a single night early in 2011, the performance contains three extra numbers on video, but the sequencing of the audio, like the band's last release, Georgia Warhorse (Alligator, 2010), has a logic all its own that renders it a complete document on its own terms. By ...read more
JJ Grey's eleven new tunes for Georgia Warhorse, named for the notoriously resilient Southern lubber grasshopper, reflect and broadcast his love for the rustic Florida backwoods where Grey and his family have lived for generations. Grey not only wrote all the tunes but played just about every instrument, except for the slide guitar that Derek Trucks (like Grey, a Jacksonville native) slices and dices into the closing Lullaby," and sang all the vocals except for one duet. From start to finish, Grey & Mofro barbeque meaty slabs of steaming hot blues, rock and funk. They cook from ...read more
Recorded in the same studio (Retrophonics) with the same producer (Dan Prothero) as all of JJ Grey & Mofro's previous works, Georgia Warhorse constitutes an overview of the band's whole career. The CD strikes an effective balance between the swampy blues of early albums like Lochloosa (Alligator, 2007) and the authentic R&B/soul music that filled the predecessor to this album Orange Blossoms (Alligator, 2008) The CD sounds like a throwback at first, as it begins with Diyo Dayo," a slow, deep, rock groove topped off with wailing blues harp. The title song elaborates on that sound with jagged ...read more
JJ Grey and Mofro's follow-up to their critically and popularly acclaimed 2007 Alligator debut, Country Ghetto, sounds a little less shocking but no less rocking. It feels as if that first release, in retrospect, was a shout designed by songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Grey to get your attention. Orange Blossoms stretches out into real conversation now that he's got it.
Grey and his ensemble, Mofro, offer one of contemporary music's most authentic blues sounds. Their songs, and the singing and playing that give them life, just sound and feel so very real. Several tunes groove with Mofro's ...read more
JJ Grey & Mofro Orange Blossoms Alligator Records 2008
JJ Grey and Mofro's Orange Blossoms is a natural evolution from its predecessor, the ambitious Country Ghetto (Alligator, 2007). Here Grey and his regular road band extract the R&B/soul elements and artfully expand upon them.
The title song is emblematic of the way Grey uses imagery from his Florida heritage as a means to telling a story: orange blossoms" is a trigger to remembrance as much as a sign of the south. A crisp electric piano interlude presages the entry of horns as a melodramatic ...read more
It's rather promising for a band's debut to remind you of the Faces on the fast numbers and of Otis Redding on the slow ones, but these legends provide solid points of reference for JJ Grey & Mofro's Country Ghetto.
Country Ghetto is swampy, funky, bluesy, and above all genuine, straight from JJ Grey's backwoods home in the swamps outside Jacksonville, Florida. Grey composed and arranged every tune, sings lead, and plays keyboards as well as acoustic, electric and twelve-string guitars. Daryl Hance on guitar and slide guitar, Adam Scone on organ and keyboard bass, and George Sluppick ...read more
Like all musical genres, the blues has its own particular set of conventions. Yet the seemingly infinite variations on the shuffle tempo and the AABA lyric format derive from the unique personalities involved. Such is the case with JJ Grey & Mofro's new album. Country Ghetto feels like everything that is the blues while mostly sounding nothing like it.
While Mofro boasts a somewhat unconventional instrumental lineup-- no bass guitarist--the low registers nevertheless permeate the music almost like a subliminal tone on such songs as Circles. On Palastine works much the same way, as organ weaves in and around the ...read more
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