The NCMA and Cat’s Cradle present
Blues Traveler, JJ Grey & Mofro
Thirty years ago, the four original members of Blues Traveler gathered in the basement of their drummer’s parents’ home in Princeton, N.J., and started a band that has now released 13 studio albums, four of which have gone gold. In its 1994 hit “Run-Around,” Blues Traveler had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, and Wildflowers. They have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, and VH1’s Behind the Music, and they hold the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman.
“We intend to keep going as long as they pay us,” says founding member John Popper, resplendent in bathrobe and Simpsons pajamas, with a Samurai sword dangling from a belt loop. “We’re going to be in everybody’s face this year. I feel like I’m in my prime.”
JJ Grey & Mofro
From 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. Onstage, Grey delivers his songs with compassion and a relentless honesty, but perhaps not until Ol’ Glory (2015) has a studio record captured the fierceness and intimacy that defines a Grey live performance.
“I wanted that crucial lived-in feel,” Grey says of the album. Grey and his band Mofro offer grace and groove in equal measure, with an easygoing quality to the production that makes those beautiful muscular drum-breaks sound as though the band has set up in your living room.