Don't let Shooter Jennings fool you. Sure, he rocks. He's lean and wiry, with tattoos snaking up his arms - his mother's name on one, a gun on the other - and a crimson stud gleaming in one ear. He's played sold-out shows at the Viper Room and the Roxy. He's subbed for Axl Rose onstage - twice - with Guns N' Roses. But look a little closer. Underneath that gun are the letters CBCS, for "country boy can survive." That earring turns out to be an eagle silhouette spread-winged into the letter "W" - an icon known by anyone who has listened to and loved the original outlaw, Waylon Jennings.
JJ Grey and his band MOFRO exude rocking, funky, melodic, front porch realism in every song they play. Grey comes from a long tradition of Southern storytellers, and his songs oftentimes use the loss of his natural surroundings and the marginalization of the Southern culture he grew up in as a metaphor for universal truths. The band delivers his material with brilliant musicianship, resulting in music that is thought provoking, rhythmically dynamic and texturally mesmerizing.