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  • Writer's pictureCurious Fan

JJ Grey & Mofro - College Street Music Hall - New Haven, CT 4/4/24

Spending the evening before this show with musicians and creatives of all sorts, I was already feeling grateful and humbled to be in such good company. Coming into New Haven a bit late with two close friends inside already, I was anxious to get settled when the golden parking spot opened in front. I walked in as the opening notes of the first song began. Not having seen the band before, I had no idea what to expect, only that I was open to it. Once seated and flanked by friends (thanks to whoever left three open seats on the center loge rail), we immediately knew we were in for a great evening.

JJ Grey is a masterful frontman and storyteller, and the nine-piece band behind him had all the variety one could ask for - flute solos, flugelhorn, stellar percussion, trumpets, and backup singers. Having not played New Haven since 1989, fans from the New Haven area were ready to express their love for the band, and it was clear it was mutual.

"This song wrote itself" is how JJ Grey introduced several of his songs. These were songs composed outside in nature in the area of North Florida where his roots are and where he draws much of his musical inspiration from. Sitting down on the shore, looking at the fancy homes along it that seemed unreachable - he penned one of the evening's finest tracks - "The River"

Where did my soul go? Where did my spirit hide?

Why won't they rescue me from the pain in my mind?

Cause only this river in all of her glory

Only this river can bear me away

Other highlights of the night included "Lochloosa", "The Sea" (he called its piano solo his favorite moment of the album), "The Sun Is Shining Down", and the encore "Brighter Days".

Tonight's show was another reminder of how much love music talent there is to explore. We left feeling like we'd been a part of something special - part juke joint, part southern gospel, and all soul.

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