SGF Director JJ Grey Releases New Album
When compared to his earlier works, This River manages to come off as more refined in the sense that there is a more cohesive feel throughout the album and as always the band is so incredibly tight. At the same time, you feel the energy that threatens to bust each song out at the seams – all of which leads to live shows that are unparalleled in the industry.
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I asked JJ about his ability to redesign his musical floor plan without ever leaving the building, so to speak. “Well, you can’t leave the building because once you do you aren’t true to yourself anymore.
“I liken it to moving to a new area. At first it takes you a long time to get from point A to point B, then to point C in your new city. Eventually you learn the short cuts, traffic patterns and other things and you make the same trip in half the time. But you are still going to the same place. Now I know my equipment, know my band, and it’s just easier for us to get to the right spot.
After a thoughtful pause, JJ rounds out his thought. “Change is superficial anyhow, to a degree. You can’t change certain core aspects of yourself. But at the same time life punishes the static – you have to have some degree of change. If you leave your house and nobody lives there at all, it will run down. It’s punished. The changes that come with daily life and keep it moving in a forward direction are a form of maintenance, which requires effort.”
This River refers to the St. John’s, one of the waterways JJ has enjoyed throughout his entire life. The title track makes it clear how much the river means to JJ, who has been an avid sportsman and water bug his whole life. No question the passionate story and song will become one of JJ’s most requested. It will make you understand his need to always return to his river, and allow you to identify the meaning with your own personal retreat.
It also gives insight as to why JJ has made a commitment to support SGF. He has donated thousands of dollars and much of his time to SGF and the Angler Action Program. “To me, Angler Action represents a change that has been a long time coming.”
To check out JJ’s music, visit his web site. SGF is proud to recommend his music, and equally proud to know the man who makes it.
"Over the last five years, under the tutelage of JJ Grey, Mofro has evolved from a compact little swamp-funk blues band into a full-fledged r&b unit legitimately paying homage to the legacy of its native South. This River continues the evolution in that direction, redolent with all the confidence and authority of its predecessors."
-Doug Collette, All About Jazz
"...this current incarnation - Anthony Cole on drums, Art Edmaiston on saxophone, Anthony Farrell on keyboards, Dennis Marion on trumpet, Todd Smallie on bass and Andrew Trube on guitar - is such a tightly honed outfit that they chose to record much of This River, their 7th studio album and first since 2010's Georgia Warhorse, live in the studio. through ten tracks they show why. This band is good at what they do."
"The story goes that This River takes it's name from the St. John's River near Jacksonville. But as you listen to the record's mighty music unfold, you might think Florida native Grey has charted a course for Muscle Shoals. That's the Alabama community responsible for some of the greatest R&B music of the past 50 years. Its influence has increasingly informed Mofro records for the past decade. By the time this new album's 10 songs have run their course, the pilgrimage to Alabama sounds pretty much complete."
-The Musical Box