Jim James hangs up his Morning Jacket for a solo outfit at SXSW

Jim James is getting a lot of mileage out of his solo project, and not having to be chained to a guitar. His performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" last month was a true achievement. Unfortunately it's been taken down from Hulu, but get on message boards and demand they reinstate it! CREDIT: NBC Universal
Jim James is getting a lot of mileage out of his solo project, and not having to be chained to a guitar. His performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last month was a true achievement. Unfortunately it’s been taken down from Hulu, but get on message boards and demand they reinstate it!
CREDIT: NBC Universal

With My Morning Jacket taking a brief break, the prolific Jim James is trying something different with his recent solo album. “Regions of Light and Sound of God,” released last month, seems and sounds as though divine intervention has led the songwriter to new sonic soil.

Playing almost all of the instruments on the record, this isn’t your traditional stripped-down solo journey, but instead an epic musical onslaught that sounds as though a dozen people contributed to the final product.

Taking his new tunes on the road, James has built a quartet comprised of fellow Louisvillians to help rebuild the audio architecture of the solo record in a live setting. After catching his first few shows in NYC last month, my skepticism quickly turned to satisfaction as the new band delivered some magical moments that not only gave life to the album, but took the songs to another level.

Focusing primarily on electronics, James’ band fills the instrumental backdrop while he mans the mic, taking on the role of the traditional frontman, and occasionally picking up random and often unlikely instruments.

While My Morning Jacket are no strangers to SXSW, James makes his first appearance at the festival this week as a solo act. MMJ’s first trip to the Austin came early in their career and James is quick to note the benefits of playing the festival back then.

“The year was 1914,” James says in jest. “The first settlers had just come onto the Austin shore. Alongside other explorers like us who had heard about the legend of gold in them rolling hills and mountain ranges of downtown Austin, we rolled into town just before dawn on March 13 of that year and took up shop at the Pecan Street Ale House … or was it Urban Outfitters … or was it Yard Dog? It’s hard to say, the memory starts to slip with time and age and you have to brush those cobwebs away.”

All jokes aside, the venues and day of the month are real, but the year was 2002 and SXSW became one of the band’s first shows outside of Europe and Kentucky.

“It’s all strange and wonderful,” says James. “I mean, we’ve worked our asses to the bone over the years and it feels good when you chase a dream and see some progress on that front. It’s very exciting and we are very grateful to the universe to have been allowed to make some progress on our dreams.”

‘True destiny’ on the line
Since their SXSW debut, My Morning Jacket has only played the festival one other time — in 2008. They went from being unknown hopefuls in 2002, to being one of the SXSW’s main attractions six years later while previewing their album, “Evil Urges.”

So what is Jim looking forward to seeing this year?

“My true destiny,” he says.

— Jim James plays three shows at SXSW and participates in a panel discussion and a non-SXSW-affiliated benefit show at Willie Nelson’s Ranch


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Local

Reports: Dead man pulled from water at Boston's…

A dead man was reportedly pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon, according to the Boston Fire Department.

Local

Primark to make US debut in Boston

Dublin retailer Primark will make its U.S. debut with a store at the former Filene's site in Boston.

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

MLB

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has…

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has been off so far in 2014

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."