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Brighter Days is JJ Grey‘s first-ever live CD/DVD. The two-disc set includes a full-length movie and a long-awaited live album. Directed by filmmaker/musician Spookie Daly (whose work has been aired on MTV Networks, Much Music and Fuse), the film intersperses riveting concert footage with the stunning beauty of Grey’s north Florida home, the inspiration for so much of his music. The film also follows Grey and company into the studio and features band interviews along with insightful commentary from Grey and others, recalling the format of classic “rockumentaries.” 78-minutes of stellar performances from the film are captured on the accompanying CD.
Shot on January 22, 2011 at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Georgia in stunning HD and boasting 5.1 surround sound, Brighter Days finds JJ (vocals, guitar and harmonica) and his band — Andrew Trube on lap steel and electric guitar, Anthony Farrell on organ and piano, Art Edmaiston on saxophone, Dennis Marion on trumpet, Todd Smallie on bass and Anthony Cole on drums — giving everything they have. Singing and telling stories with preacher-like conviction, JJ breaks down the wall between the audience and the performer.
The idea for a film was born several years back when Spookie Daly came to Florida from his native Boston to film JJ at his backwoods home. “For years people have been saying to me, ‘You should do a documentary on where you’re from and show that connection to the music,’” states Grey, “and then others have been saying, ‘Y’all should make a concert DVD.’ Meanwhile, every time I turned around someone would say, ‘Y’all need to do a live album.’ So I thought, ‘Let’s do them all!’ That’s when I called Spook,” says JJ.
Both as a film and a live concert CD, Brighter Days perfectly captures Grey’s power as a performer and writer, as well as the talent of his heavy-hitting band Mofro. As old fans know well and new ones keep discovering, a JJ Grey & Mofro show is a musical celebration shared between Grey and his audience, with each driving the other to greater heights. With Brighter Days and an overflowing tour schedule, the bond between Grey and his fans grows deeper and JJ Grey’s future looks brighter with each passing day.
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