Soulful Rock and Blues Jam Band
JJ Grey has always been an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His stage presence is something startling and immediate, as he delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty. Backed by the incredible musicianship of Mofro, Grey delivers thoughtful and profound messages in a down-to-earth, laid-back way, while maintaining a level of intensity that goes straight to your core. JJ Grey & Mofro consistently captivate audiences all over the world.
Thursday, October 12, 2017 8pm
Tickets: $39 - $54
From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.
As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers, including Jerry Reed, and to Otis Redding and the other luminaries of Memphis soul; Run-D.M.C., meanwhile, played on repeat in the parking lot of his high school (note the hip-hop inflections on A Night to Remember). Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late '90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton and a lyrical directness that made his debut LP Blackwater (2001) a calling-card among roots-rock aficionados. Soon, he was expanding his tours beyond America and the U.K., playing ever-larger clubs and eventually massive festivals, as his fan base grew from a modest group of loyal initiates into something resembling a national coalition.
The mood and drive of Ol’ Glory are testament to this achievement. The album ranks with Grey’s very best work; among other things, the secret spirituality of his music is perhaps more accessible here than ever before. On “Everything Is a Song,” he sings of “the joy with no opposite,” a sacred state that Grey describes:
“It can happen to anybody: you sit still and you feel things tingling around you, everything's alive around you, and in that a smile comes on your face involuntarily, and in that I felt no opposite. It has no part of the play of good and bad or of comedy or tragedy. I know it’s just a play on words but it feels like more than just being happy because you got what you wanted — this is a joy. A joy that doesn’t get involved one way or the next; it just is.”
Grey's most treasured albums include Otis Redding's In Person at the Whisky a Go Go and Jerry Reed's greatest hits, once saying that he grew up “wanting to be Jerry Reed but with less of a country, more of a soul thing.”
With his most current release Ol’ Glory, Grey does his idols proud. It's a country record where the stories are all part of one great mystery; it's a blues record with one foot in the church; it's a Memphis soul record that takes place in the country. It’s a record by JJ Grey—the north Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker.
JJ Grey is as genuine as they come, a do-it-yourselfer who is committed to making music that's true to his heritage and full of integrity. In this day and age, that's a rare thing.
With gritty vocals over rock riffs and horns, The Commonheart delivers an emotion-packed, soulful sound that lights up any stage. Frontman Clinton Clegg is a powerhouse who commands full attention with his limitless onstage energy and vocal range. The new album Grown is a remarkable display of each member’s talent interlacing heavy blues, soul, and gospel influence across trumpet, saxophone, keys, guitar, and singers. The Commonheart’s sound is a true testament to the past while completely holding its own as one of today’s most promising acts.
Special Guest: The Commonheart