JJ Grey & MOFRO
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|JJ Grey & Mofro|
|Also known as||Mofro|
|Genres||Southern rock, blues-rock, soul rock, funk-rock, swamp rock, jam rock|
|Years active||Late 1990s–present|
|Labels||Fog City Records
|Website||JJ Grey & MOFRO home page|
Anthony "AC" Cole
|Past members||Fabrice Quentin
Bea "B.B.Queen" Gayle
JJ Grey & Mofro (formerly billed just as Mofro) is a Southern rock/soul/funk/blues jam band from Jacksonville, Florida composed of JJ Grey (vocals, electric piano, acoustic guitar and electric guitar, harmonica), Andrew Trube (electric guitar and slide guitar), Anthony Farrell (Hammond organ), Anthony Cole (drums) and the "Hercules Horns" Dennis Marion (trumpet), Art Edmaiston (tenor saxophone) and Todd Smallie (bass guitar).
History and Discography
The early beginnings of Mofro can be traced back to the mid-nineties when John “JJ” Grey and Daryl Hance signed with a United Kingdom label and played shows in Europe as Mofro Magic. Grey and Hance met in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida while working for an air conditioning company and developed a friendship through music. The name “Mofro” was coined by JJ Grey as an explanation of the sound that the band made. The deal with the record label in London fell through, so Grey and Hance returned to their native Jacksonville and formed Mofro which signed with Fog City Records in 2001. The first studio album released by Mofro was Blackwater which came out in 2001. The album is full of songs inspired by the surroundings of where JJ Grey grew up, such as “Blackwater” and “Florida”. A car accident in late 2001 involving several members of Mofro slowed things down for the band and it was not until 2004 until they released their next album Lochloosa. This album continues to deliver songs about where Grey grew up and the industrial progress that continues to plague the natural beauty of the area around Lake Lochloosa and Lake Orange. The title track, “Lochloosa”, describes the changing landscape in northern Florida and JJ Grey’s soulfulness and deep beliefs come through in the song. Lochloosa would be the last album with Fog City Records and the last album under the name Mofro. In 2007, JJ Grey & Mofro became the new name of the band under the new record label Alligator and the album Country Ghetto was released. The album featured slower, more soulful songs like “The Sun is Shining Down”, along with faster, and more rock and roll type songs like “War” and “Country Ghetto”. The next studio album is Orange Blossoms, which is released in 2008. Orange Blossoms features songs like “On Fire” and “Wylf (What You’re Looking For)” which revolve around more sexual themes than previous songs performed by JJ Grey & Mofro. The fifth studio album released by JJ Grey & Mofro is Georgia Warhorse which came out in 2010. The album’s name comes from a cricket that is found in the northern Florida region that is known for its strength despite its small size. The album features songs such as “The Sweetest Thing” which includes vocals from Toots Hibbert, from Toots and The Maytals. It also features Derek Trucks, from The Allman Brothers Band and The Tedeschi Trucks Band, on the song “Lullaby” playing slide guitar. Daryl Hance, who was an original member of Mofro, left the band in 2010 before this album was made to pursue a solo career. Hance was replaced on the guitar by Andrew Trube. The departure of Hance is not anything out of the ordinary for the band because JJ Grey & Mofro have had numerous band members come and go since the release of their debut album in 2001. Since JJ Grey is the major contributor to the development of the songs as well as the primary songwriter of most of the songs, the shifting of band members does not have much of an effect on the music made by JJ Grey and Mofro. The latest album by JJ Grey & Mofro is This River, which was released in April 2013. The album features familiar upbeat songs such as “Florabama, "99 Shades of Crazy", and “Your Lady, She’s Shady”.
JJ Grey and Mofro’s music has been described as a combination blues, funk, soul, and rock. Most of the songs are written by JJ Grey and a lot of them are about the region he grew up in around Jacksonville, Florida. JJ Grey attributes artist like Big Bad John and Jim Reeves when it comes to their style of story songwriting and how it has influenced the way he writes his songs. Grey also credits southern rock acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jerry Reed as artist who have influenced his style of music, as well as more soulful artists like Toots Hibbert and Otis Redding. JJ Grey and Mofro are also known for their extensive touring schedule and have continually played at the major summer music festivals including Bonnaroo, All Good Festival, Austin City Limits, Wakarusa, and Rothbury. Early on in their touring days, JJ Grey and Mofro gained fame in the jam band scene while touring with acts such as Widespread Panic, Galactic, and Ben Harper. JJ Grey attributes most of the band’s strength to their performance on the stage rather than in the studio.
|2001||Blackwater||Fog City Records|
|2007||Country Ghetto||Alligator Records|
|2009||The Choice Cuts|