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

Masked men robbed armored car in Mayfair, police…

Two masked men made off with more than $100,000 this morning after an armored car heist in Northeast Philadelphia, police said.

International

Putin fields question from NSA fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Local

Teen in 'Jihad Jane' terror case to be…

A judge on Thursday is set to sentence a high school student who pleaded guilty to helping al Qaeda and working with the woman known as "Jihad Jane."

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

The Word

'Mrs. Doubtfire' sequel in the works

Finally, Hollywood is making your dreams come true - they're making that "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel you've been clamoring for all these years.

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

Movies

The Cannes Film Festival announces its 2014 lineup

The lineup of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced this morning, promising the latest from a slew of usual (and some unusual) suspects.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.