Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation

Daddy B. Nice's #12 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation by Daddy B. Nice
 




"Knee Deep"

Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation

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September 1, 2021: Daddy B. Nice's Profile

Listen to the Jay Morris Group featuring Zee Brownlow singing "Knee Deep" on YouTube.

Southern soul music has undergone a radical transformaton in the last decade. Its previous audience has remained rock steady, but an entirely new and wider audience has migrated to the genre. Thus, we have the phenomenon of Big Pokey Bear and "My Sidepiece" (headed towards a 100 million You Tube views), Bishop Bullwinkle (gone but not forgotten) and "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw" (with similar YouTube numbers). We have Tucka stealing the hearts of tens of thousands of new fans, almost unnoticed until the clamor was too great to be ignored. And we have lesser but no less phenomenal cases like Ronnie Bell and his pro-women's anthem "I'll Pay The Shipping Cost," which catapulted him into an instant headliner.

What do these new performers have in common? Their numbers (YouTube views, retail sales, booking fees) dwarf the numbers of the stalwart veterans (people like O.B. Buchana, Willie Clayton, Vick Allen, Ms. Jody) upon whose shoulders they piggy-backed. That's not to say the talent and work of the new mega-artists isn't deserving. Just the opposite. Music, like all entertainment, is based on "What have you done for me lately?" But it's also true that contemporary southern soul music had to go through a fragile, post-Malaco period (roughly 1995-2015, when all the great stars of the older generation died) just fighting for survival. And then...came the young... Or the young became "grown folks"... Or something like that.

This is the world in which the Jay Morris Group has rolled their Trojan horse of new music through the gates of the southern soul fortress, taking over the kingdom with harmonies both soulful and relaxed---De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest meets southern soul---one of the most in-demand acts on the chitlin' circuit. A year ago, people marveled at how "Knee Deep" had hit the 2-million mark in YouTube views; today it has surpassed 10 million and shows no signs of flagging. (DBN notes: less than a month later, make that nearly 12 million.) New line-dance videos based on "Knee Deep" appear daily. Whoever heard of line-dancing to a ballad? And yet, there we are, in locale after locale, dancing to "Knee Deep".

The other gasp heard throughout the chitlin' circuit is, "It's a group!" Like... Isn't there a southern soul law against that? And yet the same thing happened a few years ago. A trio came out of nowhere (which happened to be Baton Rouge) and nobody in the core southern soul scene was the wiser until the band had already amassed record numbers. The group? The Louisiana Blues Brothers: Pokey Bear, Tyree Neal and Adrian Bagher. They disbanded after one album, but Love On The Bayou sparked a renaissance in Louisiana-based southern soul music that is still evident today.

Like Food For The Soul is such an album, and we can only hold our collective breath that the trio of Jay Morris, K-Monique and Zee Brownlow stick it out. They're a tight-knit group, and when I hear them harmonize they remind me of my best friend for many years (now departed), Joe Russell of the acapella group The Persuasions. Joe couldn't couldn't pass a woman on the street without accosting her jocularly, and the music he did with The Persuasions was similarly light-hearted and social in the most positive sense, like standing on a street corner with buddies, harmonizing.

Jay Morris, Zee Brownlow and KMonique have the same rapport. You can imagine them in high school in an alley in their hometown like the one in the "Happy Weight" video, stretching their vocal cords. Their music, while disarmingly laid-back, grows on you as the melodies and harmonies sink in. Like the Louisiana Blues Brothers, all three personalities are unique and talented enough to go it on his or her own. K-Monique has a solo single and a number of collaborations with other recording artists under her belt. Zee Brownlow is the incandescent singer who renders a tour de force on "Knee Deep". Jay Morris is the singer/leader and producer.

If they can succeed at staying together, and continue putting out good music, the Jay Morris Group could portend a change in the way legitimately-talented but second or third-tier southern soul artists think about their careers. If joining a popular group brings attention otherwise lacking in a solo career---attention like the Jay Morris Group has garnered---these aspiring artistf may form "super-groups" of their own.

By the way, don't check the Comprehensive Index to see where "Knee Deep" originally charted on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Singles. I didn't have a clue. Reminds me of Pokey Bear, when I favored "They Call Me Pokey," not "My Sidepiece," as the probable breakthrough. But once "Sidepiece" got embedded in the consciousness, I came around. I came back to the herd and found all kinds of reasons to enjoy "Sidepiece". It's been that way with "Knee Deep" (I would have guessed "4 Fa 4") and it shows you how much the southern audience values lyrics, i.e. a message, a story. (Not that "4 Fa 4" doesn't also have something to say.) "Knee Deep" hits some universal chord, some emotional experience, that resonates in the communal memory like "Hole In The Wall," "Stand Up In It" or "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw". Jay, Zee and K-Monique accomplished that with some righteous music, and youngsters and upstarts though they may be considered by veterans of the scene, the Jay Morris Group has earned the right to be raised up and recognized by the southern soul faithful as one of the top acts on the circuit.

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For the latest updates (including biography, discography, album sellers, YouTube videos and contemporaneous reports) on the Jay Morris Group, scroll down this page. To automatically link to the Jay Morris Group's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Jay Morris Group" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
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Note: The Jay Morris Group also appears in
Daddy B Nice's former artist guide. (Click here.)
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--Daddy B. Nice


About Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation

The Jay Morris Group hails from Greenwood, Mississippi. The group consists of brother Jay Morris and sister K. Monique ("same mom, same dad" Jay adds) and Jay's best friend Zee Brownlow. In September of 2018 their first single, Ms. Wendy, charted on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles under the artist title Jay Morris featuring Mario Brownlow. Subsequently, the song was released as "4 Fa 4" by the Jay Morris Group and went on to collect over 5 million views on its various YouTube pages.

Meanwhile, a companion single, "Happy Weight," was released and became equally popular, charting on Daddy B. Nice's Singles in January of 2020. Both songs catered to a subject dear to southern soul fans: that weight and heft in a woman can be beautiful and sexy. As the lyrics to "Happy Weight" said,

"Ain't nothing wrong with a little extra meat,
It turns me on how she's squeezing in those jeans."

Both songs were rolled into a bountiful, sixteen-song collection titled Like Food To My Soul, published in 2019. And yet, as popular as "4 Fa 4" and "Happy Weight" became, their fame was eclipsed by the new single, "Knee Deep," a sensitive ballad sung by Zee Brownlow exploring the nuances between friendship and love. The tune blew up its YouTube page, gaining some 12 million views on its official music video. "Knee Deep" struck chords with the audience no southern soul song had accomplished since Bishop Bullwinkle's "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw," catapulting the Jay Morris Group to headliner status on the chitlin' circuit. 1,750 comments, an unheard of number of responses, accrued on its YouTube page. And line dances, also featured on YouTube, accumulated at an astounding rate, an anomaly for a ballad.

A remix of "Knee Deep," with percussion-heavy samples of rhythm tracks from Soul Sonic Force and other vintage rap soundtracks, was published in 2021. "Knee Deep (Soul Lion Bass Mashup)" featured Zee Brownlow on lead vocal and was slated to chart at #2 in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles in September 2021, as this profile was being written.

Discography:

4 Fa 4: The Single (Jay Morris Group 2018)

Happy Weight: The Single (Jay Morris Group 2018)

Like Food To My Soul (Jay Morris 2019)

Cabbage Greens & Cornbread: The Single (Jay Morris 2019)

Southern Soul Party feat. Jeter Jones: The Single (Jay Morris Media 2020)


Tidbits

August 15, 2021:

1. Jay Morris Group on YouTube



Listen to Jay Morris Group feat. Jeter Jones singing "Southern Soul Party" on YouTube.

Listen to the Jay Morris Group on the road, then settingup and singing live in Alabama on YouTube.

Listen to The Jay Morris Group singing "Happy Weight" on YouTube.

Listen to Zee Brownlow and the Jay Morris Group singing "Knee Deep" on YouTube.

Watch Mississippi line dancers stepping to Jay Morris Group's "Knee Deep" on YouTube.

Watch the Too Lit Crew at Harris Place in Tunica, MS line dancing to Jay Morris Group's "Knee Deep" on YouTube.

Watch the Dallas Powerhouse Ryders line-dancing to the Jay Morris Group's "Knee Deep" on YouTube.

Learn the "Knee Deep" line dance with Ms. Bailey B on YouTube.

Listen to the Jay Morris Group singing "4 Fa 4 (Ms. Wendy)" on YouTube.

Listen to KMonique singing "My Lovin' Ain't Cheap" on YouTube.

Listen to KMonique guest-singing on Mississippi Hummin' Boy's "You Know What I Like" on YouTube.

Listen to KMonique guest-vocalizing on C-Wright's "Sneaking Around" on YouTube.

Listen to the Jay Morris Group singing "Knee Deep" live onstage on Facebook.

Listen to Zee Brownlow and the Jay Morris Group singing "Knee Deep ( Soul Lion Bass Mashup)" on YouTube.


Honorary "B" Side

"4 Fa 4"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Knee Deep by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Knee Deep


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy 4 Fa 4 by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
4 Fa 4


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Happy Weight by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Happy Weight


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Cabbage Greens & Cornbread by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Cabbage Greens & Cornbread


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Group

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Full Course Meal (feat. L.J. Echols) by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Full Course Meal (feat. L.J. Echols)


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Lost My Mind by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Lost My Mind


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Thunderstorm by  Jay Morris Group #12 New Generation
Thunderstorm


CD: Like Food To My Soul
Label: Jay Morris Media

Sample or Buy
Like Food To My Soul


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