"Impassioned singing, riff-based Southern rock, cold-blooded swamp funk and sly Memphis soul." --The New York Times
Singer/songwriter/musician JJ Grey and his band Mofro will celebrate the release of their new CD, THIS RIVER, with a live performance at The Pageant in St. Louis on Saturday, October 26, 2013. This is Grey's seventh album (his fifth for Alligator Records) and his first studio album since 2010's acclaimed Georgia Warhorse. According to The New Yorker, "JJ Grey and his band Mofro stir up a Southern storm of soulful grooves. They deliver simmering, funky and propulsive Southern R&B with a rock edge." Concert information is below:
Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Venue: The Pageant
Address: 6161 Delmar Blvd.
City: St. Louis, MO
Ticket price: $22.50 advance / $25 day of show
THIS RIVER, like his previous releases, was produced by Grey and Dan Prothero, and recorded at Retrophonics Studio in Saint Augustine, Florida, with additional recording done in Grey's home studio, known as "The Egg Room."
As proven by his previous albums, Grey is a meticulous storyteller. "Many of the new songs," says Grey, "are about being your own worst enemy, and about normal folks pushing themselves over the edge." Grey's lyrics and slice-of-life scenarios are filled with honest detail, helping to bring his emotionally complex characters to life in songs including Somebody Else, 99 Shades Of Crazy, The Ballad Of Larry Webb and This River. "I see a little bit of myself in these songs," Grey states. "The difference is in the choices
His gritty vocals and punchy horn arrangements add even more depth to the lyrical album. Grey's fervent delivery and the expert musicianship of the band pull the listener deep inside each track, making This River a deeply moving and engaging musical statement. "I took my time and I'm happy for it," says Grey.
For THIS RIVER, Grey brought the whole band in to the studio and cut most of the tracks live. To JJ, the result was a bit more like their live show. "It adds so much more to the dynamic of a recording. It's so different when you get to play off each other rather than overdub each track," says Grey.
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 upstream. 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."
JJ Grey is from Jacksonville, Florida. He made his recording debut in 2001 with Blackwater, following up in 2004 with Lochloosa (both albums reissued by Alligator). In 2007 Grey released his Alligator debut, Country Ghetto, followed by 2008's Orange Blossoms. With the release of 2010's Georgia Warhorse, Grey stepped further into the mainstream view with the AAA radio breakout single The Sweetest Thing. In 2011 the full fury of the band's live show was captured on the live CD/DVD Brighter Days.
JJ has played countless festivals, including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Austin City Limits Festival, Byron Bay Blues Festival (Australia), Montreal Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock (Japan). Over the course of his career, Grey has shared stages with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Jeff Beck, Ben Harper, Booker T. Jones, Mavis Staples and many others. In 2011 the band extensively toured the UK. That same year, back in the U.S.A., Grey embarked on his first-ever solo tour, playing packed-to-capacity clubs. The band returned to Europe in 2012, playing multiple dates in the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. Grey and his band, who continue to play over 125 shows a year, will return to Europe in 2013.
JJ's songs have appeared in film and network television including House, Flashpoint, Crash, Friday Night Lights, The Glades, The Deadliest Catch and the film The Hoot. In November 2009, JJ wrote his first film score for the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning documentary The Good Soldier, that appeared in theatres and on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. In 2010, JJ played piano, sang and contributed a song (The Wrong Side) to Buckwheat Zydeco's Grammy-winning Alligator Records album Lay Your Burden Down. JJ also appears on Shemekia Copeland's Grammy-nominated 2012 CD 33 1/3.