by Liza Mitchell
In a homecoming befitting Jacksonville’s own swamp kings and the crown prince of country music, Mavericks Rock N’ Honky Tonk Concert Hall will open its doors to JJ Grey & Mofro and Shooter Jennings for a special performance Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Jacksonville Landing.
Mofro’s front man JJ Grey in a recent phone interview said the show is the beginning of a nationwide tour with Jennings and special guests Earl Greyhound. “The big one kicks off in Tampa two days before [the Jacksonville show],” said Grey . “We have been on a quick run in the southeast opening for Derek Trucks.” The “quick run” encompassed stops in places like Georgia and Mississippi, heading as far north as New Brunswick, Canada before bringing the tour back home to Florida.
“That’s when we will load up and get ready for the big tour,” laughed Grey. “We’re going all over the whole country from the east coast to the west coast to the Midwest and every place in between.”
The show in Ybor City marks not just the start of a mega-cross country gallop but also brings aboard country music scion Shooter Jennings, only child of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. Grey said he hasn’t seen Jennings play live and is not the least daunted by the family legacy that follows him. “To be honest, people are people,” he said. “He’s not his daddy. He’s his own person.”
Grey said the tour is as much in support of “Orange Blossoms,” Mofro’s fourth studio release, as it is the band’s first three records “Blackwater,” “Lochloosa” and “Country Ghetto.”
“”Orange Blossoms” has just been out a year but we will definitely pull from all four records,” he said. Audiences can expect to hear new songs like “On Fire” and “I Believe (in Everything) and revisit favorites such as “Lochloosa,” “Brighter Days” and one of Grey’s personal favorites, “The Sun is Shining Down.”
Grey and Mofro have toured nearly non-stop since the release of its fourth album but Grey is already churning out ideas for a fifth record, which he hopes to release by next summer. “We are working on stuff right now,” he said, noting that he plans to infuse the band’s gritty front porch soul with heavy brass similar to that featured on “Orange Blossoms.” “That is my favorite sound. All of my favorite records sound like that. Pick any Stevie Wonder record, the old Stax Records and Memphis sound, Otis Redding, Muscle Shoals. A lot of the old Nashville stuff from the late ’60’s and 70’s, so many great recordings came from that time.”
JJ Grey and Mofro, Shooter Jennings and special guests Earl Greyhound will perform at Mavericks Rock N’ Honky Tonk Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Jacksonville Landing. General admission tickets are $20 in advance, VIP $30 and are available at www.mavericksatthelanding.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Pre-show dining at the Twisted Martini offers Pass the Line privileges with proof of receipt.
Home Grown Back Porch Swamp Music
by Liza Mitchell