Latest JJ Grey Articles
This summer, JJ Grey & Mofro will embark on a co-headlining tour with Jonny Lang featuring select dates with North Mississippi Allstars and Marc Broussard.
JJ Grey & Mofro will hit the road with blues guitarist Jonny Lang this summer. The first six dates have been confirmed with the promise of more to come.
JJ Grey & Mofro announced Winter Tour dates taking place early next year.
Vocalist JJ Grey will embark on a rare solo tour of intimate venues this fall.
This September, JJ Grey & Mofro will mix headlining dates and festival appearances.
A co-headlining run from Blackberry Smoke and JJ Grey & Mofro will feature full sets from both bands at each stop.
More JJ Grey Articles
About JJ Grey
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 were 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. Ive had a lot of laughs and good times with those characters. Weve shared some hard times too.
These characters and JJs 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 Im trying to live in that power and not force life to cough up what I want. That power is always there whether Im 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 Im doing while Im 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 JJs 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, theres 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 Greys 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 doesnt consider himself an environmentalist.
I guess Ive never really believed that there is an environment thats 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, its been a long road. But JJ has no illusions about where hes headed or where hes been. When prompted with questions about his past accomplishments or future plans, JJ lays down a little backwoods wisdom:
Im just a salmon swimming up stream. Going back home I reckon. I dont 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 Ive enjoyed and Im still enjoying every second of just being here and doing whatever it is Im doing.
Mark Knopfler dusted off Dire Straits songs he hadn’t played in 14 and 36 years respectively as part of his 2019 tour opener at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Thursday night.
There’s plenty to choose from in this week’s Release Day Picks including albums from Josh Ritter, Anders Osborne, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Foxygen, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Kevin Morby, The Mountain Goats, JJ Cale, Craig Finn, Nils Lofgren and Kiefer Sutherland.
Osiris network’s ‘Southern Songs And Stories’ host Joe Kendrick profiles fellow Osiris podcast ‘The Road To Now.’
- Bob Dylan 'Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings' Box Set & Martin Scorsese Documentary Due In June
Bob Dylan’s ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ tour will be chronicled in a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary and 14-CD box set, which are both due in June.
The Black Keys will soon release ‘”Let’s Rock,”‘ their first new studio album since 2014’s ‘Turn Blue.’ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney unveiled the ‘Let’s Rock’ track “Eagle Birds.”