JJ Grey and Mofro

The latest offering from Jacksonville-based outfit JJ Grey and Mofro really hits the mark-as we have had a potential hint of the summer down here on the South coast with it’s Southern R&B sound; and funk twist, it comes jumping straight out of the swamp!

Now this album has been in the office for a number of weeks and despite numerous plays, just defied being reviewed. It ticks all the boxes, is a great listen but something just prevented words hitting the page. The album has a tight well produced feel which betrays it’s easy flowing sound; which at times covers up it’s depth, allowing subsequent listens to reveal more and more depth.

“Your Lady, She’s Shady” throws you straight into the album letting you know exactly what you are getting into with it’s funky guitar, harmonica, and JJ’s great vocals. The tempo is immediately lowered for “Somebody Else”, which is an almost scary look into a split personality and how it can affect others.

For “99 Shades Of Crazy” the tempo is upped for what seems on the surface to be an amusing song, but it soon becomes apparent that this fits in with the dark underlying theme to the album. The keys and horns really set this track off.

Gentle opening strings “The Ballad Of Larry Webb” lovely soft, and tremendous vocals and lyrics “All that is, All that will be, All we have is each other” – possibly one of the best songs on the album.

Going back to the opening description “Florabama” turns up the swamp feel, it has a great feel with the horns adding an almost soft, bluesy feel. The album closes with what feels like a very emotional track, “This River”, delivered beautifully. Opening with gentle guitar picking, add to this the vocals and you have a great closer to the album, as other instruments come in subtely building the song up.

The whole album seems to be a very cathartic experience, with what seems to be deeply personal experiences. All played against a great musical backdrop that just flow and work from the horns to the guitar, all played with JJ Greys amazing soulful vocals.

Okay, the words have hit the page. I have re-read them, and they still don’t feel 100% right in representing the album in its full potential. If you are already a fan of JJ Grey and Mofro then this is must (in fact you probably already know about it). If you are intrigued, then this will probably get you hooked. if you made it this far, but it is not your thing, then just go and give it listen, the back porch is calling you to kick back.

JJ Grey and Mofro

Line Up
J.J. Grey – lead vocals, backing vocals, electric guitar, harmonica, tambourine,bass,acoustic 6- and 12- string guitar
Andrew Trube – electric guitar, lap steel guitar,acoustic guitar
Anthony Farrell – organ, piano, clarinet, electric guitar
Todd Smallie – bass
Anthony Cole – drums, organ
Art Edmiston – tenor saxophone; baritone saxophone
Dennis Marion – trumpet
Stan Lynch – shaker.

Your Lady, She’s Shady
Somebody Else
Tame A Wild One
99 Shades Of Crazy
The Ballad Of Larry Webb
Standing On The Edge
Write A Letter
Harp & Drums
This River


Words by Jon “Keeping it local”.

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