Upcoming Life in a Country Ghetto
posted by March 29 at 11:27 AMon
JJ Grey, main man behind North Florida front-porch soul outfit Mofro, wrote the introduction to his new album Country Ghetto. From the liner notes:
I grew up when the “root hog or die” days were still fresh in the minds of my parents and grandparents. I was brought up to earn it and not waste it, to respect and protect womanhood and promote manhood, and to be thankful for what you got. By today’s standards we ourselves, and most of the folks we knew, lived below the so-called “poverty line.” We were land and culture rich and dollar poor but I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for any other. I’ve always felt blessed to be raised here, to know so many larger than life characters, and to steep in the years of blood, sweat, and grim determination of my people before me.
My culture, life, and love is here in this country ghetto.
Makes you wanna hear what Mofro’s all about, dunnit?
Grey is a treasure, dedicated to preserving the rural lifestyle he grew up with in Jacksonville, a few hours from West Palm Beach, where I was born and raised. All across the state, the old Florida landscape has been decimated by rampant development and is hardly recognizable from the sand-and-swamp-strewn outback I knew as a kid. (It’s a phenomenon all too common everywhere these days.)
Blues-drenched, sweat-stained, and horn-blasted, Country Ghetto is totally Stax-influenced with a great Memphis brass sound, driven by Grey’s Otis Redding-esque vocals and Daryl Hance’s languid slide guitar. It’s a weary lament wrapped in feel-good music, full of pain but boldly undaunted. You can sample the entire album at the Mofro website.
JJ Grey & Mofro play Neumo’s Friday, April 6. Watch for the story in next week’s issue.