Monday, September 6, 2010

CD Review: JJ Grey & Mofro and James Hyland

It was with great anticipation and excitement that we received the latest release from JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse. We have followed the band's transformation for several years from rootsy blues to funky, soulful R&B and this release continues the process. JJ Grey is my generation's version of Van Morrison see this MyJoogTV video. Not only does he has the deep soulful voice - but he has been able to incorporate excellent songwriting and a rhythm section to achieve that complete package. This is completely evident with Georgia Warhorse starting out of the blocks with Diyo Dayo. Grey's vocals shine on King Hummingbird, and the rhythm section comes alive in The Sweetest Thing.  This package continues from track to track - with long term partner, Daryl Hance, coming on on the slide guitar. Love the title track as well. But make sure you listen to the end, the rockin' The Hottest Spot In Hell reminiscent to the 70's rock n' roll tune. Basically, this is a great CD, go for it.

During our first trip to Austin, we had the pleasure to see the South Austin Jug Band perform live and immediately fell in love with their self titled CD, South Austin Jug Band. To this day Hill Country Nights and Ballad of Eddie Mullet are two of my favorite songs. We were extremely disappointed when the band members went their separate ways. However, the lead singer and principle songwriter for the group, James Hyland has stepped forward and released a new CD, Celestial Navigation featuring a supporting band: The Joint Chiefs. For former fans of the band - you will noticed the same soothing vocals that carried you through their old CDs. This is evident from the very first song Radio City - also love how the instruments also have a soothing affect, from the pedal steel to the electric guitar. And just like the old Jug band, he can compose a great story that keeps your attention - see Lowcountry Sound and American Son. And then there's my favorite track, Girls from Lake Pontchartrain. With this release Hyland has continued some of the traditions of the South Austin Jug Band while showcasing his individual talents - it's worth a listen.

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