JJ Grey & Mofro
Chico, CA 95928
Hailing from the Jacksonville, Fla., area, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter JJ Grey has a lot of that funky Southern rock in his blood and on this, his third CD for Alligator since 2007, Grey and his band give it to us with both barrels. They open with “Diyo Dayo,” a song set to a swamp groove that warns of a woman who’s a rattlesnake (“Beware of her bite”) and, like others on the disc, relies on multiple repetitions of certain lines (in this case, the title) for effect. In fact, perhaps not since Otis Redding has anyone used iteration so effectively and to such an extent. Grey has fronted his band for over a decade and here is joined by reggae star Toots Hibbert on the popular single, “The Sweetest Thing.” Guitarist Derek Trucks slides in with some solid fretwork on the closing “Lullaby” (“Let me rock you to sleep, pretty girl”), which starts out slow and low before getting amped up. Grey’s fiery rasp and ability to lock onto a killer groove surface on “All” (“I’ll give you all I got; I’ll give you all you want” with multiple reps) and “The Hottest Spot in Hell.” The title track refers to a Southern grasshopper. Fascinating music.