Thursday, May 23, 2024

JJ Grey & Mofro deep southern roots album Olustee

JJ Grey & Mofro – Grey says the term Mofro is a reference to the sound his band makes onstage, deep southern roots music. Most of his songs are based upon his personal experiences, with topics ranging from love and hard luck to the protection of wildlife and the natural environment around the Florida Everglades, where he lives. He desires to see these lands preserved. His message is quite simple: respect the natural world and live in the moment.

Mofro’s music is a mish-mash of southern blues, gospel, funk and soul, with a touch of rock added, and it’s an album where occasionally the overuse of strings and brass becomes a mix which doesn’t always necessarily enhance a song.

The Sea’ which opens the album is an example. It begins as a poignant ballad about Grey’s love of the sea. Immediately the voice is redolent of Jeff Buckley .. no bad thing for this reviewer .. but it becomes somewhat schmaltzy when the strings are added, which is similar to ‘On A Breeze,’ which begins semi-acoustically but soon has strings backing, as also with ‘Starry Night,’ a gentle ballad with full-on orchestration. In contrast, ‘Top Of The World’ is more rocky and is about accepting things as they are ‘If you came to change the world, let me show you the door.’ The mood changes with ‘Feeling High’ and ‘Waiting,’ two soul pieces, with brass added, and both straight out of the Bill Withers songbook.

Grey’s concern for the environment is reflected in the inclusion of the country classic ‘Seminole Wind,’ written by John Anderson (no, not that one!), a song with powerful lyrics about the need to protect the natural environment ‘..men have searched for wealth untold, digging for silver and for gold, and they leave the empty holes’. This is one of the album highlights, the other being the title track ‘Olustee,’ based on a true story about a fire in 1998 which engulfed seven counties in eastern Florida. Played on guitar and harp, this is a fine rock blues song with searing guitar licks. The album concludes with ‘Deeper Than Belief,’ which Grey sees as connecting to his spiritual side ‘..the face of all created makes me feel so small.’ Grey can certainly wring feelings out of a song, and he conveys what he wants to say quite convincingly. His concern for his immediate environment is heartening and his message is one which deserves to be listened to

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

eleven − 6 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RAMzine is proud to support The Mike James Rock Show!

Latest Articles

JJ Grey & Mofro - Grey says the term Mofro is a reference to the sound his band makes onstage, deep southern roots music. Most of his songs are based upon his personal experiences, with topics ranging from love and hard luck to the...JJ Grey & Mofro deep southern roots album Olustee