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Big attraction: Southern blues band JJ Grey and Mofro in Buckingham

March 26, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

JJ Grey and Mofro, one of the hottest blues bands around, a group that has toured the world, will perform at the Buckingham Blues Bar on Gunnery Road, just outside of Lehigh Acres on March 28.

Timmy Lee Cook, the owner of the Buckingham Blues Bar, and a singer with a band himself, said he is expecting up to a thousand people to attend the performance with fans coming not only from Southwest Florida, but from other areas of the country and from Germany. He said fans from Europe have planned their vacation because of the appearance of the show at the Buckingham Blues Bar.

JJ Grey is from Jacksonville, born and raised there and has been touring for a decade. His grimy blend of front porch soul and down-home storytelling has taken him around the world and back again. Beating the streets on nearly every continent, he and his band Mofro have sewn a continuous thread of laying-it-on the line shows that move folks to dance and at times to tears.

Article Photos

JJ Grey shown at a recent performance.

Tommy Lee Cook, who also owns The Hut restaurant down the road from the Buckingham Blues Bar, has renovated both establishments and both have become big attractions in the area.

"We're going to have the show on the outside stage behind the bar," Cook said. "We're really excited and we are getting a lot of calls. Anyone who wants to see a great band should not wait to get their tickets now. They are $25 a piece," he said.

The group has produced six albums and The New York Times has called his music, "impassioned singing, riff-based Southern rock, cold-blooded swamp funk and sly Memphis soul."

"This is the first time we will have had such a large crowd at one show," Cook said. His group, the Tommy Lee Cook Wild Bunch will start off the show at 7 p.m. and JJ Grey and Mofro will appear at 9 p.m.

The star of the show, JJ Grey, as he is known, said he was raised in North Florida by a typically southern extended family that valued hard work and self-reliance. This upbringing permeates his no nonsense approach to writing and performing and has given him an abundance of material to write about in his songs.

Grey once said that one of his friends had said that we're all characters if we're given enough room to be one.

"I guess I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who had plenty of room cause Lord knows I know some larger than life ones. I've had a lot of laughs and good times with t hose characters. We've shared some hard times, too," he said in a promotional interview.

Tommy Lee Cook said this will be one of the most exciting shows ever presented at the completely renovated Buckingham Blues Bar.

"There has been a strong interest in this group and we've been getting calls and I know we have several hundred tickets already sold by this weekend and people are calling every day to come to the show. I wouldn't wait much longer if you want to see JJ Grey and his group," Cook said.

To get a ticket, call 239-693-7111. Cook said if the number of tickets have reached 1,000, you will go on a "will call list" which means you will get a call if there is an open seat.

"The music is just great blues types and once you have seen and heard them play, you'll buy their albums and want to see them again perform," Cook said.

Cook said that JJ Grey once said that the best songs he had ever written, he never wrote. He said they wrote themselves. He said the best show he ever played, played itself and had little to do with himself or his talent," Cook said.

Last April, JJ's sixth studio album, "This River," named for the St. John's River near Jacksonville was offered for sale. This album and others most likely will be for sale at the performance, Cook said.

Those in Mofro include Anthony Cole on drums; Art Edmaiston on saxophone; Anthony Farrell on the organ; Dennis Marrion, trumpet; Todd Smallie, bass; and Andrew Trube playing the guitar.

"You don't want to miss this is you can. It's truly one of the greats that you will ever see and hear perform," Cook said.



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