Grandma’s chicken farm

The ‘backwater blues-funk’ of Florida’s Mofro floats into The Oasis

GATOR ROCK <br>Florida boys Daryl Hance (left) and JJ Grey headline latest Bobolink Music showcase at The Oasis with their front-porch ensemble Mofro.

Florida boys Daryl Hance (left) and JJ Grey headline latest Bobolink Music showcase at The Oasis with their front-porch ensemble Mofro.

Courtesy Of Mofro

Preview: Mofro and New Monsoon Fri., Sept. 9, 8 p.m. The Oasis, 1007 W. First St. Tickets: $15/advance ($20/door),

Mofro’s second and most recent CD, Lochloosa, is a 12-song heartfelt offering to the band’s Floridian home turf. Singer/songwriter JJ Grey, who lives on his grandparents’ chicken farm there, speaks in the liner notes of the trees pictured on the album’s cover: “They’re part of my family. After being away on the road for weeks at a time, there is no way to describe the joy it brings me when I catch my first homeward glimpse of them. … They open the door to a world that I understand. … They say, ‘You are home'.”

And on the CD’s title song, Grey laments the onslaught of rural developers destroying this precious Florida countryside: “All we need is one more/ Mickey Mouse/ another golf course/ another country club/ another gated community/ Lord I need her/ and she’s slippin’ away/ If my grandfather could/ see her now/ he’d lay down and die/ Lord, he’d lay down and die/ Lochloosa/ she’s on my mind.”

Mofro oozes a soulful, backwater blues-funk that you just want to climb into and roll around in. The band is led by Grey, who sings and writes songs, and plays guitar, harmonica, bass piano and tambourine, and Daryl Hance (who occasionally pitches in on songwriting) on slide guitar. Grey’s voice is heartwarming, tenacious and sincere, as he sings about the sometimes gritty, but always well-loved Southern life—and his harmonica playing ain’t half-bad, either. Hance’s slide playing adds just the right swampy touch to the whole mix.

Larry Lemm, promoter for Bobolink Music, described the band with the infectious “front porch soul” as “a rare bird in the jam band scene … a band with a unique and excellent singer and a penchant for songs with hooks you can remember.”

Speaking of the band’s growing popularity, Lemm shared that, not only has Mofro recently opened for the Black Crowes, but by the time they hit Chico, they’ll be gearing up for the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Sept. 16-18) and Austin City Limits Festival (Sept. 23-25). Mofro will also be performing for the second time with the 50-piece Jacksonville (Florida) Symphony this November.

Mofro brings its unique, earthy sound to another Bobolink-sponsored Oasis show, and as Lemm puts it: “To get to see Mofro in a little honky-tonk like The Oasis is a great musical experience, and to get to see them with a hot band like New Monsoon opening is almost crazy.”