Coming from a former family chicken farm and pecan tree grove in Jacksonville, Fla., you’d expect JJ Grey to exude the flavor of the South, and that’s just what he does. Grey is the epitome of the passionate yet modest country boy, boasting a love for the land, concern for human troubles and a distinct and traditional American honesty. And while his music is wildly different than what’s popularly known as “Country music,” his sound draws deeply from his roots in the South.
Grey shows that in the intimacy he brings to the stage. Whether it’s rollicking, funky swamp Blues meandering through tales of blue-collar life and the intimidation of beauty or a self-reflective song of sorrowful admission that dips subtly into the traditions of Doo Wop and Gospel, Grey makes you feel.
While Grey is an incredible musician in his own right, he couldn’t do what he does without the slide guitar, beefy backbeats and blasting horns that turn his performances into the listener’s equivalent of a steaming hot bowl of Louisiana gumbo.
Where his sincere lyrics and soulful voice might ever leave a gap, he has his band Mofro to provide the backbone through which he raises up his fearless musical humanity. Mofro is an ever-changing group of musicians, the current lineup consisting of Anthony Cole on drums, Andrew Trube on guitar, Anthony Farrell on organ, Todd Smallie on bass and the sound-separating horn section of Dennis Marion on trumpet and Jeff Dazey on saxophone.
Together, Grey and Mofro have been riding tours across the world even before their first release, Blackwater, in 2001. Now with the release of Ol’ Glory coming on the toes of a fresh tour, Grey just might not make it back to his Florida pecan grove anytime soon.