JJ GREY & MOFRO

Wednesday, October 30
Doors: 7:00pm
Show: 8:00pm

Featuring

  • The Revivalists http://www.therevivalists.com/

$15 advance $17 day of show
18+, Valid Photo ID Required

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Impassioned singing, riff-based Southern rock, cold-blooded swamp funk and sly
Memphis soul.
--The New York Times

Over the course of six albums and a decade of touring, JJ Grey's grimy blend of front
porch soul and down-home storytelling has taken him around the world and back again.
Beating the streets on nearly every continent, he and his band Mofro have sewn a
continuous thread of laying-it-on-the-line shows that move folks to dance and at times to
tears.

JJ was raised in North Florida by a typically Southern extended family that valued hard
work and self-reliance. This upbringing permeates his no nonsense approach to writing
and performing and has given him an abundance of material to write about in his songs.
“A friend of mine once said that we’re all characters if we're given enough room to be
one. I guess I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who had plenty of room
cause Lord knows I know some larger-than-life ones. I’ve had a lot of laughs and good
times with those characters. We’ve shared some hard times too.”

These characters and JJ’s own triumphs and struggles, make regular appearances
throughout his lyrics. "Looking at his show now, it's remarkable to think how far he's
come, and to realize the creative spirit and force of will it's taken to get there," says
longtime producer and friend Dan Prothero. "But it's also remarkable to see him up
there singing about the worst of it, and smiling a smile that has come from accepting the
good with the bad. In recent years I think he's come to realize that the fighting stance
that seemed to get him where he needed to go back then wasn't getting him where he
needed to go now, and so he changed. Letting go and letting it all happen is at the heart
of his creative process now.”

“The best songs I've ever wrote, I never wrote. They wrote themselves. The best show I
ever played, played itself and had little to do with me or talent. To me those things come
from the power of an honest moment and I guess I’m trying to live in that power and not
force life to cough up what I want. That power is always there whether I’m aware of it or
not. Force is the opposite. It requires effort and comes at a great cost. The cost has
always been my freedom to truly enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it.”
April 2013 brings the release of JJ's sixth studio album, This River. Named for the St.
John's River -- a centering point for his childhood near Jacksonville, Florida -- This River
flows from freewheeling celebrations (“Florabama”) to dark inner journeys (“Somebody
Else”), from late night, beer-soaked testimonials (“Your Lady”) to heartfelt ballads of the
almost-forgotten (“The Ballad Of Larry Webb”), and ends with the title track and a
singularly devastating vocal performance. With Dan Prothero at the helm as producer, JJ and the band once again returned to Retrophonics Studio in nearby St. Augustine,
Florida and muscled out some of JJ’s strongest material to date.

"We set up much like we do for our shows, and cut the tracks as close to live as
possible,” says Grey, “there’s something about everybody getting into one room and
playing together. It brings some spark that can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of too
much overdubbing."

JJ's band Mofro has also been a decade in the making. Over that time, great players
have come and gone, but according to JJ, the present incarnation -- with Art Edmaiston
on saxophone, Dennis Marion on Trumpet, Anthony Farrell on organ and piano, Todd
Smallie on Bass, Anthony Cole on drums and Andrew Trube on guitar – is “the creme
de la crème"

"These musicians I get to play with make it look easy. I've learned so much from them
about music and about life in general. It ain't always easy to keep a core together when
you do so many shows a year, year after year, but I truly hope to keep these guys
together as long as possible.”

Many of Grey’s songs reflect his love for the North Florida wilderness in which he grew
up. Having watched his native home be decimated by egregious development, and this
has often figured heavily into his lyrics. He now works with groups such as The Snook &
Gamefish Foundation and the St. Johns Riverkeepers, but still doesn’t consider himself
an environmentalist.

“I guess I’ve never really believed that there is an environment that’s separate from me.
I reckon that my connection to the environment, which I could call my home, is part of
the connection to myself. I believe that whatever I do to my home and everything in it, I
in-turn do to myself.”

From his early days playing cover music behind chicken wire at a Westside
(Jacksonville) juke joint to playing sold-out shows and some of the largest music
festivals in the world, it’s been a long road. But JJ has no illusions about where he’s
headed or where he’s been. When prompted with questions about his past
accomplishments or future plans, JJ lays down a little backwoods wisdom:

“I’m just a salmon swimming up stream. Going back home I reckon. I don’t know why
and I quit caring why a long time ago. I guess there is no ‘why’ that my mind could
understand anyway. All I do know is that I’ve enjoyed and I’m still enjoying every second
of just being here and doing whatever it is I’m doing.”
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