JJ Grey & Mofro in Concert at Stage AE (Thurs., 5/11/24)

You can hear a little of Otis Redding in JJ Grey’s raspy vocals. The music of Stax Records, meanwhile, permeates his backing band, Mofro, specifically within those lush horns. Unsurprisingly, Grey touts both Redding and Stax, along with Jerry Reed and rappers Run-D.M.C., as influences. All of these musical forebears mix together in JJ Grey and Mofro’s sound, which is hard to classify: sometimes southern rock, sometimes swamp rock, all of it great. Grey hails from Jacksonville, Florida. He later moved to his maternal grandparents’ former chicken farm, installed a studio there, and formed Mofro in the late 1990s. Their debut album was 2001’s Blackwater—followed by eight more in fairly regular succession, up to 2015’s Ol’ Glory—after which came a pregnant pause in studio recording. Until finally this year, lo, a new album has been delivered. It’s Olustee, the name of a creek and town in rural Florida, and talk about coming full circle: In the Muscogee language, Olustee means “Blackwater.” Catch JJ Grey & Mofro on their Olustee Tour at Stage AE. Special guest is Judith Hill. 6:30 p.m. 400 N. Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., M.V.)

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Mike Vargo

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