Saturday, February 21, 2015

JJ Grey & Mofro at Terminal 5

JJ Grey
Born and raised in and around Jacksonville, Florida, John “JJ” Grey began his professional music career in the 1990s leading his initial southern roots band, Mofro Magic, through Europe. He returned to northern Florida, assembled local musicians and adopted his nickname, Mofro, as his band's name because it sounded southern. After two albums, Grey expanded the band name in 2007 to JJ Grey & Mofro when his grandmother asked him if he was ashamed to use his own name. JJ Grey & Mofro is composed presently of JJ Grey (vocals, electric piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica), Andrew Trube (electric guitar and slide guitar), Anthony Farrell (organ), Todd Smallie (bass guitar), Anthony Cole (drums) and the "Hercules Horns," Dennis Marion (trumpet) and Jeff Dazey  (saxophone), with guest Marcus Paisley (trumpet). JJ Grey & Mofro's most recent album, Ol' Glory, was released on February 24, 2015.

Foregoing all rock star posing at Terminal 5 tonight, JJ Grey & Mofro's stage set included five scattered table lamps, intentionally lending a homey living room feel. Opening the set with a backyard jam-sounding "Your Lady, She’s Shady," JJ Grey & Mofro translated northern Florida's sprawling farms and eddying swamps to sprawling, swampy rooted music. Expanding the southern sound further, Grey sang like a 1960s Memphis Stax singer and the band sounded like they were from the famous recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. As a warm and engaging Grey powered through his soulful songs somewhere between Otis Redding and Delbert McClinton, the musicians backed Grey's catchy choruses with a combination of Southern rock, soul, funk and blues. Grey led the band through blue-collar lyrics, then often slipped out of the sight lines in order to let the band members stretch. Songs were filled out with numerous guitar licks, organ solos and horn fills; New York-based former Mofro member Adam Scone even joined the band on Hammond organ for an extended version of "Ho Cake." JJ Grey & Mofro's performance was a well-executed rhythm and blues rave-up.

Visit JJ Grey & Mofro at