JJ Grey & Mofro plan to get
Admittedly, it took us off guard when southern rocker JJ Grey turned into a meteorologist when we spoke by phone from his home outside Jacksonville, Florida.
Oh sure, I might look sour now, but that's because I'm not having a par-tay yet with my audience.
Grey's been checking up on the colder temperatures in Eastern Canada as he prepares for another appearance at Harvest Jazz & Blues in Fredericton.
"You know, those fronts come down from the Northwest Territories then sweep down through Winnipeg, or Winterpeg, then across the plains of the US and slowly make their way down to Florida," he said in a slow southern drawl when we asked him about the weather in his home state.
We'll take his word for it, because Grey really is a true outdoorsman.
Born and raised in the backwoods of northern Florida (so close to Georgia they're practically in it, he jokes) Grey spends the few months of the year when he's not a tour bus on a fishing boat instead.
His childhood in rural Florida and subsequent baptism into the history books of Southern soul-infused rock has recently been documented in his band's first ever live CD/DVD, Brighter Days, shot by friend and filmmaker Spookie Daley.
"(Spookie) just wanted to shoot footage and do a thing about the connection between where I grew up and how I grew up, and the music so to speak. He came down and started filming some of that and it turned into this," he explains.
Daley shot a JJ Grey & Mofro concert in Atlanta, Georgia and paired that with the documentary for a true live experience. Grey says his fans have been asking for a live record since he put out his first album over 10 years ago.
"I thought I'd rather have several albums down first, so you can draw on several different records during the show. I really had no intentions of doing any of this, but between me and Spookie it just sort of happened."
For those of you not so familiar with Grey and his band, he draws his inspiration from Southern fried rock and good ole country music, looking to the likes of Lynryd Skynyrd, and George Jones. He's not above adding some soul either, citing Otis Redding and Toots Hibbert as influences as well.
His five studio recordings with his six-piece band include Country Ghetto and Georgia Warhorse. His songs have been used to score a number of television shows and films, among them House, Friday Night Lights and The Deadliest Catch.
Although he's always been known as a storyteller who puts on a memorable live show, Grey says the exact format of his performance all depends on the vibe he's getting from the audience.
"Everything depends on the evening. I kinda liken it to if your friends are having a get-together, it could turn into a block party with somebody spinning records or people dancing in the driveway goin' crazy, or people chillin' having drinks. Both are extremely fun and it just depends on the audience."