Author Topic: Fit to Hear the Music of Jim  (Read 561 times)

johnnYYac

  • got that old time feeling moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 9108
  • Gender: Male
  • BERNIE 2016!
    • johnnYYac's Omnichord Ramblings
Close enough!

johnnYYac

  • got that old time feeling moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 9108
  • Gender: Male
  • BERNIE 2016!
    • johnnYYac's Omnichord Ramblings
Re: Fit to Hear the Music of Jim
« Reply #1 on: Nov 03, 2016, 09:48 AM »
Fit to hear the music of Jim

Andrew Wisniewski

The minute I knew My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James had to be included in any talk about “rock gods” was the first time I saw him step on stage. It was during an MMJ show last year at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, a moment I’d waited on for some time, but never really knew I needed to experience.

For years I’d listened to MMJ on record, enjoyed their music, but never really sunk into them. Then I met my current roommate, a member of the loyal cult-like following the band has amassed in its nearly 20-year-long career. And as I soon learned: on record is one thing; live is something else entirely.

When he, Jim James, finally walked out on stage, he was wearing black shades (that never came off the entirety of the show) and a long, silken black robe. In most societal scenarios, someone in that kind of outfit is typically someone you might want to steer clear of—like someone in a cape walking down the street. But not Jim James. Jim James looked like the baddest dude in the room, completely transfixing. After graciously accepting the crowd’s lengthy and high praise, they cut right into “Circuital.” Shortly into the set, another friend who was part of our group and had seen them for the first time in Vegas 10 days earlier, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “They might be the best band in the world.” And by the time the last note of their encore blowout “One Big Holiday” had faded into the night, like so many before me, I was hooked on what I’d seen and heard. Finally, I understood.

It may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, and sure, to some degree it is—but if you’ve seen My Morning Jacket live, you understand. In 2009 the animated TV comedy series American Dad! even devoted a whole episode, titled “My Morning Straitjacket,” to hearing/seeing MMJ for the first time. In it, the father Stan, who despises rock music, follows his daughter to one of their shows and becomes instantly obsessed the second he hears Jim James, saying, “Do you hear an angel? … Possessing you? Living in your heart?” A spotlight then falls on Jim James, and then one on Stan, who follows with, “I feel. I feel everything.” Strange, I know. But, honestly, it’s not too far from that.   

The reason I tell you all of this, is that on Friday (Nov. 4), Jim James will drop his second solo album, Eternally Even. For those with an ear to the ground, it’s been on NPR’s First Listen this last week, and having only given it a couple spins, I feel good saying he’s given us another batch of soulful, transcendent tunes to geek out over. Albeit several touches darker than 2013’s Regions of Light and Sound of God, the way it flows reminds me of something Pink Floyd might put together, a band Jim James has cited as an influence on his and MMJ’s music. And since forming MMJ in 1998, like many of the other influential artists and their respective bands—Floyd, the Stones, Zeppelin and The Band among others—he is a modern day musical legend in a way not a lot of other people are.

Deep down I want to say I already knew this to be true, but it wasn’t until August when I read a Vinyl Me, Please blog post by Katie Bain with the headline “Jim James Is The Last Great Rockstar” that I really started to consider his place in the greater musical spectrum.

She points out that today the term “rock star” is unceremoniously slapped on overnight artists, and that being a rock star isn’t about mainstream success—which with all of their greatness, Jim James and MMJ has remained relatively under the radar of that sort of appeal. But what they represent is an attitude of “rock as ritual, music as salvation.” Jim James is a torchbearer for the classic rock genre and all of those OG rock stars that came before him. He walks that same line, by making music that’s not just another product, but that speaks raw communion to audiences. It is this simple fact that explains why when you see and hear Jim James and MMJ live, mountains move. They are the innovators; the rest are imitators.     

To paraphrase Bain, and because I can’t say it any better: As long as Jim James breathes and has access to a guitar and microphone, the rock star archetype is alive and well.
Close enough!

APR

  • got that old time feeling
  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
Re: Fit to Hear the Music of Jim
« Reply #2 on: Nov 03, 2016, 11:07 AM »
It sounds like this guy got the fever.

dogwoody

  • junior member
  • **
  • Posts: 56
  • Gender: Male
Re: Fit to Hear the Music of Jim
« Reply #3 on: Nov 03, 2016, 11:22 AM »
Awesome article. For all the years I've listened to this band, I still just can't get enough of them. I love how normal and genuine they are. They can walk down a busy sidewalk and not many people would know what magic just passed them. They don't care about being famous, they quite literally just care about music and making people happy.