Although Florida is probably the last place you'd consider for a funky vacation, you're missing out. From Tampa Red to Blind Blake to Ray Charles, the Sunshine State — especially its panhandle region — has long been fertile turf for raw rhythm & blues and swamp grooves. Since emerging from Jacksonville in the late '90s, JJ Grey and his band Mofro have made a convincing claim on the tradition. They know that groove isn't what happens after a fifteen-minute jam; it's what happens when a band pulses and sweats as one. The group's 2008 album Orange Blossoms builds on that essential foundation, mixing creepy strings, tough horn blasts, electric piano and soul-sister backing vocals into a back-to-funk-basics getaway — and a visceral portrait of Florida's northeastern backwaters.
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