No one likes to admit to their own prejudices, let's face it who wants to own up how narrow minded they really are? So it's with some chagrin that I have to confess that I've long thought of Florida as being a mixture of plastic tourist traps, right wing money, and conservative Christians who would as soon see me burn in hell as talk to me. Of course I should have realized that the state is made up of more than Miami, Walt Disney World, and Governor Bush, but they're the ones that get most of the attention in the media and they don't exactly paint a pretty picture. So it's easy to forget that outside of places like Miami and the other tourist destinations that there are a lot of poor people down there struggling to get by just like everywhere else in the world.
On top of that they have to watch as one of the great environmental wonders of the world - The Florida Everglades - are gradually being drained and turned into golf courses that most of them aren't allowed into except to wait tables or chase after rich people's golf balls. Even worse is the joke of Disney Land, turning the Everglades into a plastic "Wild Kingdom Safari." Does no one else see how ridiculous it is to destroy a natural environment to build a plastic replica of one that exists thousands of miles from there?
Well I was forcibly reminded that there's a whole world of Florida that exists outside of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach with the introduction into my life of two CDs by JJ Grey & Mofro. Lochloosa, on Fog City Records, and Country Ghetto, on Alligator Records, are as far removed from the neon and plastic of Miami and Disney as you can probably get without leaving the state of Florida. If John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Revival were Louisiana Swamp Rock, than these boys are the music of the Everglades. You can almost feel the humidity rising off the music and hear the mosquitoes buzzing in the background when you play these discs.
Back in 2004 when Lochloosa was released Mofro was JJ Grey and Daryl Hance and a group of studio musicians. Maybe there are some of you out there familiar enough with Florida to have recognized Lochloosa as a place name, but I sure wasn't one of them. Yet after listening to this disc I not only know the place exists, I have a much better idea of what life and the people who live down there are like. From the title cut, "Lochloosa" on through the other eleven songs, this is a homage to a people and a place that few of us know anything about.