JJ Grey & Mofro: OL' GLORY (Provogue)

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JJ Grey & Mofro: OL' GLORY (Provogue)

Growing up in Jacksonville Florida, JJ Grey aspired to a performance range from Jerry Reed to Otis Redding. Along the way, he absorbed influences from Run-DMC to Motown. This is his 9th recording fronting the band formerly known simply as ‘Mofro’, their first on the Provogue label. The current line up packs all the tools required for a big brassy delivery of soulful blues, funk, gospel and countrified grooves. Horns, organ, harmonica and harmonies combine to cheer the weariest soul. Grey’s earnest pipes are an invitation to positivity. ‘Everything Is A Song’ warms up the set in glorious ensemble style. The track could have just as easily served as album closer, in the vein of a joyous extended live encore. ‘The Island’ presents Grey the vocalist as white-hot blue-eyed balladeer – skirting Mraz ‘All Of Me’ territory. He sings of the dark days of southern slavery with guest Luther Dickinson on dreamy slide guitar. ‘Every Minute’ is an easygoing West Coast country rocker with soaring horns, infectious rhythms and trails off with tasty guitar from Derek Trucks. ‘A Night To Remember’ (Think ‘Heartache Tonight’) and ‘Turn Loose’ bring a little Memphis attitude.
Grey worked with long time co-producer/engineer Dan Prothero. They capture the current Mofro line up as the epitome of studio session pros: Anthony Cole (drums), Andrew Trube (guitar), Anthony Farrell (organ), Todd Smallie (bass), Dennis Marion (trumpet) and Jeff Dazey (saxophone). With Grey on a whole bunch of Fenders and Gibsons and more, they capture the party-time live vibe the band’s known for.
Damn fine product with the definitive stamp of the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Out now via Warner
Written by Chris Lambie