J.J. Grey has come a long way without going too far.
Born in the swampy, sticky landscapes of northern Florida, J.J. Grey quickly learned the ways of life that wrote the stories he found so endearing, stories wrapped in the sounds of blues, soul and country that spoke to Grey in a way nothing else could. They were simple yet could not be taught and painful yet full of love.
It was a meeting of provocation and modesty, the music of grandfathers and earlier. And it was something Grey vowed never to let die.
After spending his childhood listening to some of his favorites like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding and Bill Withers, Grey set out to begin writing his own stories and making his own blues- and soul-inspired rock.
When he met guitarist Daryl Hance while working at an air conditioning company in the early '90s, Grey's longtime dream was finally beginning to take shape. Upon taking the name Mofro (after a lumberyard at which Grey had previously worked), the pair cut their first demo and took to the road.
Grey and company haven't stopped since, having performed in Charleston nearly every year for more than a decade.
J.J. Grey & Mofro released its latest effort, "This River," earlier this year. It's the band's eighth album since the 2001 debut "Blackwater."
The band will perform Friday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Oli Brown. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show, and are available at the door or online at Ticketfly.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show staring at 8 p.m.
Call 577-6989 or go to MusicFarm.com for more information.
Over the years, Charleston has produced some impressive musical talent. But as with most things, we're always looking for "the next big thing."
The Holy City's anticipation for new hometown talent may be quenched by indie quartet Brave Baby.
The group pulled together in 2010 out of the remnants of the members' former projects and began quietly writing and rehearsing into the following year while one of its founding members, Ryan Zimmerman, began making a name for himself as a producer, working with area artists, including Steven Fiore, Elim Bolt, Sequoyah Prep School, Will Hastings and others.
The band's modern sound rings with echoes of the new Brit-based indie rock takeover and stacks its smarts and heart next to gutsy instincts, staggering with purpose somewhere between Bon Iver and Bastille: emotional and intricate but gradually, methodically explosive, fierce and mellifluous.
Brave Baby will perform Monday at The Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive, with Heyrocco. Tickets are $7 at the door and the show is set to start at 9 p.m.
Go to TheRoyalAmerican.com or call 817-6925 for more information.