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Monday, November 29, 2010

JJ Grey and Mofro: Singing Songs About the Swampland

There must be something in the water in Jacksonville, Florida besides gators.

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi make sweet sounds together and with their respective bands in their home studio. And fellow Northern Floridian J.J. Grey re-creates a Staxx-era vibe with old amps and worn-out microphones at St. Augustine’s Resophonics- where he’s recorded since he was eighteen.

A homespun album with a native insect serving as the title inspiration gets CD of the Week honors this week.

Georgia Warhorse gives off a swamp-like funk and seductively moistens the brow on tracks like “Slow, Hot and Sweaty” and the New Orleans-flavored opener “Diyo Dayo,” while Florida land grabbers and other bad guys get Grey’s ire in “The Hottest Spot in Hell,” which features a killer kick drum and fuzzy guitar riff.

Two tracks put the latest from this talented multi-instrumentalist and his collective Mofro ahead of their country-blues class: “The Sweetest Thing” which features Grey coaxing reggae maestro Toots Hibbert into a standout vocal performance and the ecologically-themed Southern rock ballad “King Hummingbird.”

Trucks’s unmistakable melodic note bends close out the album on “Lullaby,” a pine-soaked sendoff from two musicians who make the swamp sound like the land of milk and honey.

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