From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless. Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty that captures the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey performance. Grey and his current Mofro lineup offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.
|[L to R]: Tony Casoria, Kevin Lilly (The Rock Brothers), JJ Grey, Joey Redner, Justin Clark (Pres. and VP of Cigar City Brewing) [Bottom] Wayne Wambles (Head Brewerfor Cigar City)|
Beer and musicians are a union that goes back to the first bars that offered guitarists an open tab if they’d play all night.. It’s no surprise, then, that when musicians look for an interesting avenue for promotion, they look towards beer as a way to make their mark.
It’s not a new phenomenon, either: Hanson has a beer, GWAR has a beer, and so does Iron Maiden. The beer/musician relationship abounds so heavily, that there’s even a section in the Beer Street Journal, one of the online beer juggernauts, devoted to the cause.
This time it hits close to home, with a collaboration beer developed by musician JJ Grey, leader of the Jacksonville hailing band JJ Grey & Mofro, and brewed by Cigar City Brewingand Green Bench Brewing out of the Tampa area. The entire project is a product of the recently created Rock Brothers Brewery, who is seeking to expand upon the musician/beer synergy.
The beer being created is called Nare Sugar Brown, and though information as to the actual beer type being created, it sounds to be a coffee-based brown ale. And while it is scheduled for a small Florida distribution, the band plans on releasing it for South Florida during a concert at Revolution Live on November 2nd.
“I thought Cigar City would let me taste a couple of beers, pick one, then put it out,” Grey said of the beer-making process. “Instead, we sat down and talked about it for a while, and during that conversation I was educated on how artful brew mastering really is. We all put our heads together and then these guys went out and created the beer from scratch. The whole process was amazing and I feel really lucky to have been a part of it. In the end, I think I think they made a beer that somehow matches my music sip for sip (or chug) and note for note.”
You might have seen another Rock Brothers beer, High Road Ale, on tap at places like Riverside Market, American Social, and Laser Wolf. You’ll have recognized the microphone tap handle.That one was developed by Bradenton band Have Gun Will Travel.
Grey and Rock Brothers Brewery will donate five percent of net proceeds of Nare Sugar Brown sales to The Snook and Gamefish Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation that serves as a platform for anglers and conservationists to preserve, protect and enhance game fish populations. So with your beer purchase, you get a side of being awesome. Not bad.
Revolution Live is located at 100 SW 3rd Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. JJ Grey & Mofro will be performing November 2nd at 8pm. Tickets start at $22. For more information and ticket purchase, head over to Revolution Live online, or call (954) 449-1025.