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JJ Grey and Mofro, Sept. 15, Knitting Factory


When I first heard of JJ Grey and Mofro, Michael Franti and Spearhead popped into my head, only because of the weird "and (blank)" part of the name. I even figured Grey purveyed jammy, dreadlocky peace, love and reggae jams. Uh, wrong.

Grey's new release, Georgia Warhorse (Alligator Records), is full of gutsy Southern rock and blues with guitars played so hard the strings are about to break. The stormy saxophone sounds like it's being dragged out of the marsh to help Grey and his gravelly voice lead a procession to chuch--not church, but chuch.

Often dressed in a Western-style button-down shirt and well-worn baseball cap, the harmonica-wielding Grey plays music as down-to-earth as he appears to be:

"I like my cornbread while it's still piping hot / I love this food lord I can't get enough / Stick a hand in my plate, you'll draw back a nub."