JJ Grey and Mofro in concert at Roanoke Isaland Festival Park.

Wednesday night, after dodging the lightning bolts that seemed to be everywhere but Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, JJ Grey and Mofro finally took the stage. 

The headliner for the Summer Send-off Bash, the band was the headliner for the day and they are worth the wait. 

The Summer Send-off was an all day affair, beginning at 3:00 in the afternoon with local singer, songwriter and master guitarist Ruth Wyand kicking things off. There are very few musicians around as good as Ruth—that’s an objective observation; she regularly places in the top five in national guitar competitions. Her voice is perfect for the blues, her guitar work impeccable and it would be hard to imagine a better way to start a day of music.

But wrapping up the day with JJ Grey and Mofro made for a special day. 

It’s tough to say just what the Grey’s music is—funk, jazz, blues, rock and a little country…giving it a category doesn’t seem important. The only thing anyone needs to know about it, is that it is good. Excellent, actually.

With two trumpets, keyboard, two guitars, bass and drum, there’s a lot happening on stage. The sound is full, rich and complex, although not always. 

JJ Grey—he leads the group—knows what he's about and if a song needs just his harmonica to start it, that’s what he does. If a simple guitar lead is called for to kick a song off, that’s what he plays. There’s plenty of time of the trumpets, keyboard and everyone else to join in later in the song.

Too bad about the rain, because on a nice day, RIFP is as good an outdoor venue as there is—beautiful setting, a good sound system and plenty of lawn to sit on.

Next up at RIFP is OBX OBX Tribute Rock Concert on September 2 followed by the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival October 4-7.