Mandependence is rolling out a new segment in which we profile excellent bands from around the country that don’t get the national attention they deserve. In this week’s inaugural installment, we’re going to take a look at JJ Grey & MOFRO, a blues/southern rock/funk band from Jacksonville, Florida.
MOFRO exploded onto the underground southern rock scene back in 2001 when they released their debut album, Blackwater.The album was received well locally and after touring nationally, JJ and the boys started to gain quite a large cult following. Since their debut, MOFRO has released 4 more albums; sadly, none of which ever made the charts. That’s attributed to the fact that they don’t play by the pop scene rules. They aren’t out looking to make music that is as easily forgotten as it is popular. MOFRO is all about originality. With influences from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sly and the Family Stone, and Otis Redding, they have rewritten the rules of southern music.
The first time you throw on a MOFRO album you will instantly realize that this isn’t your dad’s Rock ‘n Roll. Every track imparts a swampy tone that takes you back to old Florida. Listen to Lochloosa, the title track off of their sophomore album. It’s soothing and soulful, and makes you want to sit out on the front porch with your guitar and a cold beer. The lyrics in this song, and so many others, show the obvious sentimental connection the band has with Florida. The emotional words paired with JJ’s raspy southern swagger make this one an instant favorite.
If you are looking for a more upbeat sound, check out The Devil You Know off the Orange Blossom Album. This song brings the funk, son. The drum track and bass line will have you ready for a hoe down before the vocals even kick in. Throw in some guitar licks that sound straight out of the 60’s, and a horn section, and you have a serious groove anyone can bounce their head too. Check out www.jjgrey.com for more information on their music, bios, and tour dates.