Windstorm & The Bowery Presents: JJ Grey & Mofro w/ The People's Blues of Richmond Saturday March 7 Buckhead Theatre 7pm Doors // SOLD OUT Tix: http://bit.ly/MofroATL Twitter: @jjgreyandmofro JJ Grey & Mofro - http://www.jjgrey.com/ "Impassioned singing, riff-based Southern rock, cold-blooded swamp funk and sly Memphis soul." --The New York Times Over the course of six albums and a decade of touring, JJ Grey's grimy blend of front porch soul and down-home storytelling has taken him around the world and back again. Beating the streets on nearly every continent, he and his band Mofro have sewn a continuous thread of laying-it-on-the-line shows that move folks to dance and at times to tears. JJ was raised in North Florida by a typically Southern extended family that valued hard work and self-reliance. This upbringing permeates his no nonsense approach to writing and performing and has given him an abundance of material to write about in his songs. “A friend of mine once said that we’re all characters if we're given enough room to be one. I guess I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who had plenty of room cause Lord knows I know some larger-than-life ones. I’ve had a lot of laughs and good times with those characters. We’ve shared some hard times too.” These characters and JJ’s own triumphs and struggles, make regular appearances throughout his lyrics. "Looking at his show now, it's remarkable to think how far he's come, and to realize the creative spirit and force of will it's taken to get there," says longtime producer and friend Dan Prothero. "But it's also remarkable to see him up there singing about the worst of it, and smiling a smile that has come from accepting the good with the bad. In recent years I think he's come to realize that the fighting stance that seemed to get him where he needed to go back then wasn't getting him where he needed to go now, and so he changed. Letting go and letting it all happen is at the heart of his creative process now.” “The best songs I've ever wrote, I never wrote. They wrote themselves. The best show I ever played, played itself and had little to do with me or talent. To me those things come from the power of an honest moment and I guess I’m trying to live in that power and not force life to cough up what I want. That power is always there whether I’m aware of it or not. Force is the opposite. It requires effort and comes at a great cost. The cost has always been my freedom to truly enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it.” April 2013 brings the release of JJ's sixth studio album, This River. Named for the St. John's River -- a centering point for his childhood near Jacksonville, Florida -- This River flows from freewheeling celebrations (“Florabama”) to dark inner journeys (“Somebody Else”), from late night, beer-soaked testimonials (“Your Lady”) to heartfelt ballads of the almost-forgotten (“The Ballad Of Larry Webb”), and ends with the title track and a singularly devastating vocal performance. With Dan Prothero at the helm as producer, JJ and the band once again returned to Retrophonics Studio in nearby St. Augustine, Florida and muscled out some of JJ’s strongest material to date. "We set up much like we do for our shows, and cut the tracks as close to live as possible,” says Grey, “there’s something about everybody getting into one room and playing together. It brings some spark that can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of too much overdubbing." JJ's band Mofro has also been a decade in the making. Over that time, great players have come and gone, but according to JJ, the present incarnation -- with Art Edmaiston on saxophone, Dennis Marion on Trumpet, Anthony Farrell on organ and piano, Todd Smallie on Bass, Anthony Cole on drums and Andrew Trube on guitar – is “the creme de la crème." "These musicians I get to play with make it look easy. I've learned so much from them about music and about life in general. It ain't always easy to keep a core together when you do so many shows a year, year after year, but I truly hope to keep these guys together as long as possible.” Many of Grey’s songs reflect his love for the North Florida wilderness in which he grew up. Having watched his native home be decimated by egregious development, and this has often figured heavily into his lyrics. He now works with groups such as The Snook & Gamefish Foundation and the St. Johns Riverkeepers, but still doesn’t consider himself an environmentalist. “I guess I’ve never really believed that there is an environment that’s separate from me. I reckon that my connection to the environment, which I could call my home, is part of the connection to myself. I believe that whatever I do to my home and everything in it, I in-turn do to myself.” From his early days playing cover music behind chicken wire at a Westside (Jacksonville) juke joint to playing sold-out shows and some of the largest music festivals in the world, it’s been a long road. But JJ has no illusions about where he’s headed or where he’s been. When prompted with questions about his past accomplishments or future plans, JJ lays down a little backwoods wisdom: “I’m just a salmon swimming upstream. Going back home I reckon. I don’t know why and I quit caring why a long time ago. I guess there is no ‘why’ that my mind could understand anyway. All I do know is that I’ve enjoyed and I’m still enjoying every second of just being here and doing whatever it is I’m doing.” People's Blues of Richmond - http://www.peoplesblues.com/ People's Blues of Richmond brings a carnival-like mayhem to their dark, blues-infused psychedelia. Their new album, Good Time Suicide, is a study in excess, brimming with ballads of drugs, vice and murder that sonically recall early Led Zeppelin, only weirder and with a modern sheen. Word is starting to spread about the manic intensity of the band's live performances as they burn up the road in support of Good Time Suicide, sharing bills with a diverse collection of bands—from Ghostland Observatory and Black Joe Lewis to Galactic and Flogging Molly. People's Blues co-founders and lifelong friends Tim Beavers (lead guitar/vox) and Matt Volkes (bass, vox) began playing music together in college as a way to grieve the loss of a mutual friend. Those bleak, drug-fueled days pushed the two into a maelstrom of songwriting and camaraderie that led to their debut LP, Hard-On Blues. Recorded in just two days, the record teems with urgency, transcendence and raw, primal emotion. The band wasted no time in hitting the road behind the release, galloping off on a year-and-a-half-long endurance test of live dates. During this tour, original drummer Raphael Katchinoff introduced the band to Tommy Booker, who left behind his more subdued life in NYC to play keys with People's Blues on the road, and write and record with them back home in Richmond. The band's sophomore release, Good Time Suicide, came together in a time of flux. Busy with new side projects and tired of the constant touring, Booker and Katchinoff decided to leave People's Blues as soon as the record was finished. Undaunted, Beavers and Volkes pressed on, paring down to a three-piece and bringing on local hotshot Neko Williams (son of Drummie Zeb of legendary reggae band The Wailers) as their new drummer. "It was a wild time," Volkes says, "because we were simultaneously practicing with Neko and recording with our old drummer, sometimes on the same day." Good Time Suicide was recorded and produced by Adrian Olsen (Futurebirds, Steve Wynn) at Montrose Recording in Richmond on the exact same handmade '68 Flickinger board used to record T. Rex's Futuristic Dragon. "There was definitely a vibe to the sessions," Beavers says. "We had the songs down so well that we could've easily nailed them all in one take, but instead we took the time try new things—space-echo on the drums, layering multiple amps to get just the right sound. And if you got frustrated you could just walk out behind the studio and chop some wood." Good Time Suicide is a debauched album wrapped in an ecstatic, celebratory delivery, lead track "Cocaine" spilling forth with a raw, rootsy gypsy/klezmer feel. "I'd been off of drugs for six months," Beavers says, "and I wanted to write a tongue-in-cheek song about being strung out. For percussion we pounded a steel chain on the bass drum and banged on some pottery we found outside." "Black Cat" sets pulsing mad-scientist organ to the narrative of two addicts slowly tearing each other apart, while on "Free Will" and "Nihilist," the band wrestles with the ideas of destiny and futility. "I just screamed at my ceiling with my acoustic guitar while writing 'Free Will,'" Volkes says, "and in that same vein, 'Nihilist' came out like a temper tantrum." People's Blues is currently on the road touring behind Good Time Suicide and has been busy crafting a whole new set of eclectic, blues-infused psychrockers. "It's working out really well because we all have the same dream," Neko says. " We're hungry for it." "It's more than that even," Volkes adds. "This band—we look out for each other. If I have a sandwich, Tim and Neko get a bite. It's like we're brothers." "The whole concept behind People's Blues of Richmond," Beavers says, "is that we all struggle, we all experience pain. Life is full of highs and lows, and we all work hard to survive. So we do the only thing we know how—we get out on the road, and we keep moving forward. We become a part of something bigger than ourselves."
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