Artist: JJ Grey and Mofro
Album: Ol' Glory
Label: Provogue/Mascot Label Group
Release Date: 02/24/2015
JJ Grey and Mofro are nothing if not consistent. Not only are they getting into the studio to record with regularity, but their body of work is seamless from one release to the next. The twelve songs that comprise Ol’ Glory could just as easily have been included on any of their previous albums – which is to take nothing away from their creativity. On the contrary; it is a testament to the coherence of their songwriting. JJ Grey and Mofro seem inexorably linked to the swampy rural Jacksonville, Florida area where they live and record.
The mélange of soul, funk, gospel and Southern rock that have become synonymous with Grey’s sound over the last decade are all evinced on their latest effort, picking up right where they left off. From the uplifting gospel feel of “Everything is a Song” and “Light a Candle” to the unabashedly upbeat “Every Minute” in which Grey’s chorus affirms his zest for life with the line “loving every minute of living,” Ol’ Glory is packed with positive energy.
Perhaps the Florida swamp is an unlikely origin for a band with this kind of ambition. Mofro, anchored by percussionist Anthony Cole, are as tight a group as is out there and with instrumentation that includes an organ and a three-piece horn section, their arrangements pack a wallop.
– Eric Russ