As musical heir to the likes of Jim Dickinson, Tony Joe White and Jim Ford, JJ Grey is doing just fine.
Friday night at the Miller Lite Oasis amid flying beach balls and fans camped out for headliners OAR, Grey and his quintet Mofro dug in deep into moss-covered Southern grooves that came off as both timeless and current. Close your eyes and Grey may call up a more down-home take on Lenny Kravitz’ organic influences. But while Kravitz aims to be a proto-rock star Grey could be the guy who just finished changing your oil.
From the Sly Stone agitated funk of "War" to the Otis-charmed "A Woman," Grey’s commanding vocals and sympathetic band built tension and release with a two-piece Stax horn section, B3 organ and electric piano breaks. The changing landscape of Florida, both physical and cultural is a key influence for Grey. "How Junior Got His Head Put Out" offered a rough take on reality while offering everyone spotlight solos including Grey on harmonic.
But it was his own extended soulful guitar at the end of "The Sun is Shining Do Own" that closed the too-short set with a Gospel nod.