According to musician, singer and artist JJ Grey, "The best songs I've ever written, 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 I'm trying to live in that power and not force life to cough up what I want."
Since his first album, Blackwater, back in 2001, Grey has been releasing deeply moving, masterfully written, funkified rock and front porch Southern soul music. Now, with his new album, Olustee--his tenth and first in nine years, and the first he has self-produced--Grey is back, singing his personal stories with universal themes of redemption, rebirth, hard luck, and inner peace. With his music, Grey also celebrates good times with lifelong friends, oftentimes mixing the carnal with the cerebral in the very same song. Fueled by his vividly detailed, timeless originals spun from his own life and experiences in the Northern Florida swampland, Grey's gritty baritone drips with honest passion and testifies with a preacher's foot-pounding fervor.
With Olustee, JJ Grey has once again pushed the boundaries of his own creative musical, lyrical and vocal talents, delivering an album that is destined to become a stone-cold classic. Many of the songs are steeped in the mythical Southern stories of his ancestral Florida home and filled with people from JJ's life. The songs overflow with the sights and sounds of the region as told through the eyes of a poet and sung with pure, unvarnished soul. The album's eleven songs range from the introspective opener The Sea to the raucous, celebratory first radio single, Wonderland, to an escape from an out-of-control wildfire in the title track, to the inward-looking closer, Deeper Than Belief. Singing of his own personal triumphs and struggles, his hopes and desires, his friends and family, Grey's message is simple and strong: respect the natural world and always try to live in the moment. And never forget the importance of having a good time.
Grey made his recording debut in 2001 with Blackwater, following up in 2004 with Lochloosa. Both albums were released on the Fog City label under the name Mofro, a moniker the young Grey chose to describe his music and sound while still working his day job at a lumberyard. He has since used the word to name his band of world-class players. In 2007, Grey signed with Alligator Records and released a string of five popular and successful albums: 2007's Country Ghetto, 2008's Orange Blossoms, 2010's Georgia Warhorse, 2011's live CD/DVD Brighter Days and 2013's This River. Ol' Glory was released on the Provogue label in 2015. Throughout this amazing run of releases, press, radio and years of touring helped catapult JJ Grey & Mofro further into the mainstream.
JJ Grey & Mofro have 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. Grey and his band continue to play over 75 shows a year across the U.S. and around the world.
JJ's songs have appeared in films and on television, including on House Of Cards, Criminal Minds, Bones, House, Flashpoint, Crash, Friday Night Lights, The Glades, The Deadliest Catch and in films including The Hoot and The Gray Man. In November 2009, JJ wrote his first film score for the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning documentary The Good Soldier, which appeared in theatres and on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS.
Grey, an avid outdoorsman, is a dedicated fisherman, a skilled visual artist (he has designed and drawn the cover art on all of his albums), an expert surfer and he holds an honorary position on the board of the Angler Action Foundation, dedicated to the protection of coastal fish and fish habitat. He has written passionately and articulately about his love for the untrammeled environment of his North Florida home and continues to advocate for its preservation.
From his early days playing cover music behind chicken wire at a west side Jacksonville juke joint, to playing sold-out shows at some of the largest venues and music festivals in the world, JJ Grey has always delivered his soul-honest truths. Now, with Olustee, JJ Grey & Mofro will bring their music directly to fans as they hit the road for a massive months-long tour across the country and throughout the world. AllMusic says JJ Grey's music is "as authentic as the ground under your feet because that's where it comes from--just before it moves, simply and directly, through the body of the listener, into the human heart."
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