Review: “Brighter Days,” JJ Grey & Mofro

JJ Grey & Mofro is musical comfort food.

Record Rating: 5.0 of 10

I say so partially because it’s rootsy, foot-tapping blues rock and partially because four-fifths of Mr. Grey’s lyrics are descriptions of deep fried southern goodies. (Seriously, in the course of their new album he mentions collard greens, sweet tea, grits, cornbread, hoe cakes, ham hocks, peas, macaroni and cheese, pork chops, etc, etc.)

“Brighter Days,” their latest dish — er, disc — is a collection of live tracks delivered in Grey’s swampy, rustic and recognizable voice.

No doubt, there’s plenty to savor.

Grey does a wonderful job informing his songs by talking about some of the things that inspired them. Some of those interludes are a bit on the corny side — stories about home or youngsters — but it’s great to have a bit of insight into the music.

The record’s 8-minute title track was a delight, as well. Late in the song the audience gets swept up, pitching in on the vocal duties. That happens at about a million shows a day I’m sure, but in this instance it came out as a really uplifting recording.

The album also comes combo’d with a DVD of a live show recorded in Atlanta  about a year ago. Though there’s plenty to consume within the set, a few of the items on the plate were just not for me.

To start, I generally dismiss any band that has a horn section, save a few notable exceptions.

Additionally, Grey sounds a lot like I’d imagine Bob Seger would have sounded live in his heyday. While that’s obviously something with wide appeal, it’s also a throw back to a place I don’t care to be.

But alas all of the criticisms I’m offering are pointed more toward the band, rather than the album itself. Which is to say that fans of these Mofros are probably going to consider the live set quite to their tastes.

— David A. Mann


J.J. Grey & Mofro will be performing Friday with guest JC Brooks and Daryl Hance at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd., Louisville.

Tickets are $20 at the door or can be purchased for $17 in advance at


About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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