The Story Behind Songwriter JJ Grey's "The Sun is Shining Down"

The Story Behind Songwriter JJ Grey's "The Sun is Shining Down"

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John “JJ” Grey, Jacksonville native and lead singer of southern soul-jam band JJ Grey & Mofro, is a songwriter. Writing on loss and life, he fuses mood and soul, translating emotion into song – sometimes without even knowing what he’s writing at the time. It is the essence of songwriting.

I implore you to spend 10 minutes listening to this live recording, beginning with Grey’s succinct and emotional explanation of the song’s origin, albeit with a slight chronological twist.

Below the video is a transcript of Grey’s words spoken while driving prior to the live performance.

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“I wasn’t sure what the lyrics were about, I had kind of just wrote it, it just kind of came and I didn’t know what it was about. I guess sometime later I kind of figured out it was about the last conversation my grandmother and grandfather had together. My grandmother told me the story of taking my grandfather to the hospital on this road and he died on the way there, and this song wound up being the story of the last words they had together.”

If your ears perk up with familiarity, the gem played over the opening scene in the Netflix original series "House of Cards’" season three finale.

Ignoring the depth his band possesses, including the tremendous use of a two-man horn section that imposes their will like a symphony, the performance oozes passion. Grey’s guitar solo at the 4:35 mark, and again at roughly the 6:30 mark, looks as if with every strum, he’s attempting to bring back his grandfather for one more second, one more minute or one more mile on his final drive with his wife.

Exiting at the video’s eight-minute mark, Grey can later be seen side stage, emotional, only to return at the song’s conclusion, embracing the fans' overwhelming reaction. The emotion is deeply ingrained in the song's creation and how it blossoms when performed with the same level of emotion that created it.

Famed singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, when asked if he constantly writes songs or writes only for specific projects, responded, "No, I’m writing all the time. And as the songs begin to coalesce, I’m not doing anything else but writing. I wish I were one of the people who wrote songs quickly. But I’m not. So it takes me a great deal of time to find out what the song is.”

JJ Grey, for one, would completely agree.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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20 Amazing Songs You Need For Your Travel Music Videos

Planning to make your new travel video? Use one of these songs as your perfect background music!

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Based on the mood you're currently feeling, here are 20 different songs categorized by when you should use them for a traveling music video:


1. For Those Classic Summer Feels

"Harvest Moon" by Poolside

"Gone" by JR JR

"Hold My Hand" by Jess Glynne

"Summer" by Calvin Harris

For all the lake adventures and mission trips, these are the perfect songs to put behind them to share your experience. Using these songs, your video can have a perfect summer vibe to it!

2. For A Good Winter Vacation

"The Days" by Avicii

"Something Just Like This" by The Chainsmokers

"Roses" by The Chainsmokers

"It Ain't Me" by Kygo ft. Selena Gomez

It's hard finding a perfect song for a cold winter day. These songs can work amazingly to any snowy adventurous video you've made for your winter break.

3. For Everyday Adventures

"Shut Up and Dance" by WALK THE MOON

"To Let Myself Go" by The Avener

"All That Matters" by Justin Bieber

"Youth" by Troye Sivan

We all have our daily vlogs filled with school and friends. These songs can put a touch of amusement and thrill to these videos!

4. For The Perfect Spring Break At The Beach

"Steal My Girl" by One Direction

"The Nights" by Avicii

"Runaways" by Galantis

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

Every girl has the perfect week at the beach once a year! These songs can show off how incredible your experience with your friends was.

5. For Those City Nights

"Bullet Train" by Stephen Swartz

"Love You Like A Love Song" by Selena Gomez

"G.O.M.D." by J. Cole

"The Heart Wants What It Wants" by Selena Gomez

We all take visits to the city and never have the right songs to make a video with. These upbeat songs will make your city vlog into a perfect travel video!

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