There’s no Surgeon General’s warning on the latest from JJ Grey & Mofro. If there were it’d read: “Caution: Orange Blossoms stirs a sense of general grooviness deep in the soul. This product will not harsh your mellow.”
Grey hasn’t wasted a second since his 2001 debut on the funk circuit. An early appearance on NPR won him national appeal and performances at Bonnaroo, The Voodoo Music Experience and a score of other festivals. Eventually, Grey started his own roots festival.
Orange Blossoms features a lineup of 13 stellar artists, Grey at the top of the heap. Mofro channels the energy of funk’s best, from Grand Funk Railroad to Sly & the Family Stone, and it’s easy to imagine greats such as Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Otis Redding playing muse on Grey’s lips.
Grey’s talent makes Orange Blossoms an instant favorite with a voice as smooth as an orange peel and riffs smooth as his voice. But lyrically, he stretches the bounds of his imagination and lives up to the standards of a bygone golden era when music spoke urgently for the bottled emotions of youth. “Heartache and misery/can’t hold back the light of my life.” No kidding, JJ.
JJ Grey & Mofro plays the Wilma Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 8 PM with Galactic. $26.