New Blues: J.J. Grey & Mofro – Brighter Days

So the other day I was listening to Bluesville on XmRadio and “Country Ghetto” by J.J. Grey & Mofro was playing. Now I had sampled the band’s previous album Georgia Warhouse and I wasn’t too impressed. But always one to change my opinion, I tried his new release Brighter Days and sure enough my opinion his changed! I  am really enjoying the album. From his website:

Brighter Days is Grey’s first-ever live DVD/CD. The two-disc set includes a full-length movie and a long-awaited live album. Directed by filmmaker/musician Spookie Daly (whose work has been aired on MTV Networks, Much Music and Fuse), the film intersperses riveting concert footage with the stunning beauty of Grey’s north Florida home, the inspiration for so much of his music. The film also follows Grey and company into the studio and features band interviews along with insightful commentary from Grey and others, recalling the format of classic “rockumentaries.” The accompanying CD captures almost eighty minutes of crowd favorites taken from the night’s performances.

Grey’s music draws alot on his rural Florida roots and the music he heard at barbeques and in local juke joints. He also draws inspiration for his original songs from  Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, soul greats Otis Redding and Toots Hibbert, country stars George Jones and Jerry Reed, as well as by Grand Ole Opry comedian Jerry Clower.

J.J. Grey & Mofro debuted in 2001 with Blackwater. (see it only took me ten years to find them) The followup album Lochloosa was released in 2004 (both albums reissued by Alligator).  His Alligator Records debut  Country Ghetto was released in 2007  and quickly followed in 2008 by  Orange Blossoms and in 2010 by  Georgia Warhorse. Georgia Warhorse has brought Grey more into the  mainstream with the AAA radio breakout single ” The Sweetest Thing”.

The band is not your traditional blues band, more of a blues rock band with a lot  of soulful funk thrown in. I really enjoyed the horns and the keyboards. In addtion to vocals Grey plays a variety  of guitars including: Gibson SG, Gibson 337, and Gibson Southern Jumbo Acoustic, with vintage Fender Showman w/ Tone Tubby 2×12, Fender Super Reverb, and Fender Champ amps,(yeah I know just what the difference is in each one of those guitars, Right!) plus keyboards (Wurlitzer 200a, Nord Electro) and Harmonica (Lee Oskar, Hohner) Mofro is composed of the following great musicians: Anthony Cole on drums, Art Edmaiston – saxophone, Anthony Farrell – organ, Dennis Marion – trumpet, Todd Smallie – bass and Andrew Trube on lap steel and electric guitar.

Nominations for the 15th Annual Maple Blues Awards were recently announced and JJ GREY & MOFRO have been nominated for Canada’s top blues award — The BB King International Artist of the Year Award. The other nominess include:

Bettye LaVette
Duke Robillard
Greg Allman
JJ Grey & Mofro
Tedeschi Trucks Band

Not too bad company to be included in, ay! While I’m writing this I’ve been listening to the album and one of my favorite tracks “Lochloosa” just came on. A dynamite track where the band really shows it’s stuff and the song “Air”‘s chorus – “I’ve been walking on Air”, has been playing in my head!

So if you don’t know J.J Grey and Mofro check them out. As for me I’m gonna check out some of the older albums! Many of the  tracks on those albums are included on Brighter  Days. As alwsays you can check out the band’s music at their MYSPACE page or Facebook  or you can try out the music player on their webpage!

Here’s a performance from 2009 of “Lochloosa

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