Onstage, JJ Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty. From his days of playing greasy local juke joints to now headlining major festivals, he remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human.
The farms and swamps of his youth are as much a part of Grey’s music as the Louisiana swamp-blues tradition or his collection of old Stax records. As a boy, Grey was drawn to country-rockers and the luminaries of Memphis soul, along with the street sounds of Run-DMC. Merging these traditions, and working with a blue-collar ethic that brooked no bullshit, Grey began touring as Mofro in the late ’90s, with backbeats that crossed Steve Cropper with George Clinton
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave. Friday, October 11. 8:00 pm. $32.50 advance ticketfly.com, $35.00 day of show. All ages.