My Morning Jacket is a roots-rock band from Louisville (Kentucky) fronted by
vocalist Jim James.
The double-CD Early Recordings (Darla, 2005) collects their first singles.
Their The Tennessee Fire (Darla, 1999) delivered
simple country-rock melodies highlighted by haunting arrangements and
Alt-country, southern-rock and power-pop meet on At Dawn (Darla, 2000),
a monolith that packs enough refrains and riffs for an entire Kentucky bar-band
It Still Moves (BMG, 2003) is a bit too polished for their kind of
music, but their take on
southern-rock (Dancefloors, One Big Holiday, Mahgeetah)
and the nine-minute meditation I Will Sing You Songs (which achieves
Built To Spill-ian transcendence)
almost save the disc from its unwise (reverb-heavy) production values.
Chapter 1: The Sandworm Cometh (Darla, 2005) and
and Chapter 2: Learning (Darla, 2005)
unreleased early tracks and rarities.
Z (ATO, 2005) was more of a producer's success (John Leckie)
than a songwriter's success, but it still meant
that My Morning Jacket had finally focused on what they wanted to be.
The album was a sonic exploration of ordinary states of mind
conjuring up visions of the most baroque REM ballads, of the prettiest
Tom Petty elegies, and even of U2's bombastic arena rock.
Studies on ambience such as Wordless Chorus, Into the Woods,
Dondante enhance the parade of off-kilter rocking tunes
(Lay Low, What A Wonderful Man, Off the Record, Anytime).
Okonokos (ATO, 2006) is a double-CD album.
Evil Urges (2008), their worst album yet, boasts a goofy funk-soul-rock
hybrid Highly Suspicious and the seriously depressed and electronic
Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt 1 (not to mention its
eight-minute remix as Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt 2).
The new course of the band might be the falsetto soul of Evil Urges,
Conor Oberst and
My Morning Jacket's
Monsters Of Folk in the vein of
Crosby Stills Nash & Young,
and released the ambitious
Monsters Of Folk (2009), containing
Dear God and Slow Down Jo.
My Morning Jacket's Jim James performed covers of the late George Harrison on the EP Tribute To (2009).
Crosby Stills Nash & Young must have been
the inspiration for the supergroup formed by
Son Volt's Jay Farrar, Centro-matic's Will Johnson, Anders Parker
and My Morning Jacket's Jim James that debuted with
New Multitudes (2012), a concept devoted to reinventing the music for
old Woody Guthrie lyrics.
Best is James' Talking Empty Bed Blues, that recaptures the dejected
pathos of the "dust bowl ballads".
My Morning Jacket
built on the stylistic confusion of Evil Urges
to explore the creative arrangements of
Circuital (2011). The tenderly melodic Outta My System
is emblematic of how the simplest idea gets dressed up elegantly and
The problem is that these are songs that take forever to announce their
personality, and, when they finally do, you keep waiting for some soaring
change, but instead the song quietly perpetuates itself until it dies away.
Best is the yodeling Neil Young-ian lament of Circuital, slowly morphing
into a Bob Dylan-ian shuffle.
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