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JJ Grey & Mofro: Ol’ Glory

Sunshine state soul.

With Jim Reeves, Otis Redding and Toots Hibbert cited as major influences alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd, some heady southern stew was to be expected, but it’s rare to encounter a band so seemingly devoted to crafting the perfect soul ballad.

Florida’s JJ Grey & Mofro have forged a soaring, searing behemoth on their ninth album. While Grey testifies and emotes, impassioned slowies such as the gospel-soaked Light A Candle and Hold On Tight are dramatically embroidered by guitarist Andrew Trube’s spaced curls and occasional wah wah, while the Hercules Horns invoke 60s Stax studio magic.

The jazz bar swing of A Night To Remember and Motown vamp of Brave Lil’ Fighter show them capable of turning up the heat, but it’s on those spiritual slowies that this crew takes the biggest steps to creating the 21st-century southern masterpiece they are obviously capable of./o:p

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!