It Was a Fabulous Bluesy Soulful Funky Night in Lowell
JJ Grey & Mofro is a band that I had not seen until their performance at the Lowell Summer Music Series last month, but it was not due to a lack of desire.
I saw JJ perform as part of the Southern Soul Assembly, an acoustic quartet with JJ, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, and Marc Broussard, in a show that will probably end up as one of the top ten shows of my concert year, but I had never seen him with his own band.
When the show at the Series was announced, I knew my time had finally come!
It is impossible to describe this band using only one word. They are strongly rooted in blues, but there is a lot of soul as well as funk in their music. They are based in Jacksonville, Florida, but sound as if they could be from the swamps of Louisiana. In fact, as I think about this, swamp rock might describe them perfectly!
This band has been around since the late 1990s but have not been widely known until the past couple of years. They deserve to be more popular because they are fine musicians who put on a great show.
They have seven albums of mostly (if not exclusively) original music plus one ‘best of’ album. I am most familiar with ‘Georgia Warhorse’, an album that was released in 2010, and was pleased that they played a number of songs from that album including ‘The Sweetest Thing’ and ‘Slow, Hot & Sweaty’.
The members of Mofro are Anthony Cole on drums, Jeff Dazey on saxophone, Anthony Farrell on organ, Dennis Marion on trumpet, Todd Smallie on bass, and Andrew Trube on guitar, in addition to JJ Grey on guitar, harmonica, and vocals.
One of the highlights of the show came when Andrew Trube started tossing his guitar by the cord and appearing to bang on a cymbal with it. I enjoyed watching their faces as it was happening.
Matt Andersen, an acoustic blues guitarist from New Brunswick, Canada, opened the show. He was the perfect opener for this headliner.
I became aware of Matt when I saw a documentary about him on Alternate Root TV and loved what I saw. His live performance was just as good as, and probably better than, the recording. He had excellent rapport with the audience and got us in the mood for the rest of the evening which, after all, is one of the jobs of the opening act.
Judging by the queue that formed after his set to buy his merchandise, many in the crowd loved his set as much as I did. He coaxed some hard-driving blues out of his acoustic guitar!
I think I could see JJ Grey & Mofro perform repeatedly and not tire of them. They have a deep enough catalog that each show could be different.
Another evening under the stars, listening to superb music, was enjoyed by all!
Posted on September 9, 2014, in concert reviews, music and tagged Andrew Trube, Anthony Cole, Anthony Farrell, blues, Boarding House Park, boston, concert review, Dennis Marion, Jeff Dazey, JJ Grey & Mofro, Lowell Summer Music Series, Matt Andersen, music, swamp rock, Todd Smallie. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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