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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Soulful, Relatable:

JJ Grey & Mofro
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
Friday, October 22nd, 6 p.m.
$20 adv/$25 day of
(910) 341-4604
www.jjgrey.com

music

S soulful dose of trials and tribulations, spouts of love, self-reflections and the thoughts of a young man taking on the world—all create intricate pieces to the musical puzzle of JJ Grey & Mofro. Performing at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on October 22nd, audience members will be swept up in Grey’s innate ability to express elaborate stories of personal and universal truths.

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Grey was raised in a musical environment influenced by classic soul pioneers, as well as strong, emotional, hard-hitting, southern storytelling. Since his debut in 2001, he has ushered five albums into the industry, all of which have been strong fan favorites in the rhythm and blues, and rock- and country-soul genres. His most recent work, “Georgia Warhorse,” recorded in his home studio, was released in 2010. Songwriting icons Angelo Petraglia (Kings of Leon) and Chuck Prophet, as well as producer Dan Prothero, teamed up with Grey in St. Augustine, Florida, to create an album further demonstrating improved command over his instruments, voice and the direction of his songs. With every album such elements have remained Grey’s target.

While listening to “Georgia Warhorse,” fans will be surprised to hear songs resembling musical characteristics from some of the greats: Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, even Stevie Wonder. Joining Grey on the track “The Sweetest Thing” is long-time musical hero and reggae icon Toots Hibbert.

Grey plays the majority of the instruments, including guitars, keys, harmonica and drum beats. He has anthems sung with a gritty voice, saturated in the very experiences life has taken him through. The tough exterior his music is based off and his voice combines with softened instrument selections, all grounded by themes of pure emotion, as sung in “The Sweetest Thing”:

“Tell what is this lament/I can’t tell you I’ve been a dead man running/all of my life, and I never felt a thing woman till I met you/The sweetest thing you’re the sweetest thing.”

No stranger to the stage, Grey spent the past decade doing back-to-back tours, and he’s shared time with legendary musicians like The Allman Brothers, Ben Harper, BB King, Lenny Kravitz and Mavis Staples. In addition to his extensive musical résumé, he has performed at a wide variety of music festivals such as Austin City Limits Festival, Bonnaroo, Byron Bay Blues Festival (Australia), and Montreal Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock (Japan). Having had great exposure on our local stages, he’s back to showcase songs from his most recent album, as well as some classic jams. His music has a very relatable vibe to it in the sense that if his instrumental melodies don’t get audiences moving, his lyrics will. Without knowing Grey personally, it’s still effortless to understand where his songs find inception: his soul.

Reviews of Grey run rampant in favor, from Ted Scheinman of “Arts & Entertainment” (“As a songwriter, JJ Grey tends to see his pet subjects: desire, injustice, complaint women, scores worth settling—via metaphors involving wildlife of his native Florida.”), to NPR News’ Marc Silver, who says, “Grey’s stinging, singing guitar, channeled through an old amp for a little extra echo emphasizes just how deep his love is.”

The stage of Greenfield Lake Amphitheater will come alive this Friday evening when he leads the audience on an emotional roller coaster through his past, present and future. Though there is an exorbitant amount of artists in today’s musical realm, filtering through them to discover the gems proves less daunting with JJ Grey & Mofro. His sheen presence offers music from the recesses of the heart.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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