JJ Grey (Mofro)
Easy Street Records
April 6, 2007
JJ Grey has recently changed his band’s name from MOFRO to JJ Grey and MOFRO. New fans might be confused by the bold move, but if you know anything about the band’s history, you know JJ wrote material many assumed was a group effort.
With the release of the new CD Country Ghetto it seems a new vision is in place for the band with JJ at the helm of the promotion.
Seattle has always been a city that supports MOFRO. Their popularity there has been earned by word of mouth and a modest amount of independent radio play. That said, two radio interviews and a free 30 minute in store acoustic set,(all before a two hour evening show) came as a nice surprise.
The acoustic set included a brief, informative narrative about the creation of the new songs. The songs are versatile and sound every bit as powerful when done by Grey alone on acoustic as they do with a full backing band. Over the course of the show, JJ played "Circles," "The Sun is Shining Down," "Country Ghetto," and "Mississippi."
JJ explained "Mississippi" was a song originally written for Cassandra Wilson that didn’t make the final cut for her CD. He mentioned that in retrospect he was glad it was left off, because it was a very personal song for him and when he sings it today, it feels like a tribute to Mississippi hill country blues artists. He also reminded the artists that the Mississippi coast was hit by Hurricane Katrina but for whatever reason, financial assistance for its residents has taken the back seat to the travesties of New Orleans.
Seeing JJ play solo with an acoustic guitar and harmonica was an authentication to the raw talent he possesses. He is one of those exceptional individuals who can sing, write and play several instruments with ease. His gift for entertaining is like a chain with writing the first link. The stories he openly and honestly shares clearly come from the heart and seem to be the fuel for the fire in his poignant vocal delivery.
To say that JJ can sing is an understatement. The man delivers a narrative with strength, courage and fortitude, and does so in a way that will move a body and inspire a soul.