This is a really great band. think Neil Young mixed with Skynyrd with a dash of Dylan.
if that sounds interesting then check the site and read the artical!!
Slipping Into My Morning Jacket
By Eric Brace
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 30, 2004; Page WE08
FOUR YEARS ago, a friend in the music business told me he'd just heard the Next Big Thing, a band from Kentucky with the curious name My Morning Jacket. He rarely went out on that kind of limb, so I was more than a little intrigued
The band was due in Washington that week for a gig at the now-closed Metro Cafe. I went and watched a crew of longhaired musicians -- half of them barefoot -- rock the house as hard as any band I could name, coming off like Crazy Horse, early ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Royal Trux, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Flying Burrito Brothers all rolled into one.
But the distinguishing factor was the absolutely stunning voice of frontman Jim James.
His keening tenor floated above the rest of the band on a magic carpet of reverb-drenched melodies that made his songs seem like the soundtrack to a postmodern Great Plains western. The lyrics were unintelligible that night, but it didn't matter. You felt something deep and true was being conveyed, just through the force of James's convictions.
That night, My Morning Jacket was out promoting its debut CD, "The Tennessee Fire," and since then the band has released two more CDs and averaged more than 200 shows a year. The media attention being lavished on MMJ's latest record, "It Still Moves" (released late last year), has caught up to my friend's prescient pronouncement of 1999, and My Morning Jacket finds itself in the position of Buzz Band of the Moment.
That doesn't bother James, who is MMJ's singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader. He has been working too hard for too long to not take whatever mantle the rock critics seem intent on foisting on him. "If there's some hype, I'm not going to complain," James says. "If it means that people are at the clubs to see us and that the records are in stores, then that's a good thing. That's what we hope for, right?"
James is talking from the back seat of his van, rolling from his Louisville home to Birmingham, Ala., where another leg of the ongoing tour begins, a stretch of dates that brings the band to the 9:30 club Saturday. It's noisy in the Ford Econoline, so he's hiding under his jacket trying to get some quiet for the cell phone conversation.
He admits to being a bit nervous because this will be the first show with the band's new lineup. Something happened at the end of 2003 that James won't discuss in detail, but the end result was the departure of longtime guitarist Johnny Quaid (James's cousin) and keyboard player Danny Cash. "Let's just say it was on account of mental and physical delirium. I'll leave it at that," says James, who pins the blame for the shake-up on the band's grueling road life. "It's [expletive] exhausting. The last two years have been a blur, and none of us really remembers a thing. Something had to change."
The change comes in the form of two new players, guitarist Carl Broemel (from Indiana) and keyboard player Bo Koster (from Ohio). They join bassist "Two-Tone" Tommy and drummer Patrick Hallahan, and the new quintet has spent weeks practicing. It's fitting that the newcomers are also from the Midwest, as it has been said that MMJ's music is a kind of indie rock that has nothing to do with either coast, music with a wide open, epic quality to it, a unique kind of heartland rock.
Does geography inform the music?
"I think where you're from does shape what you do a lot," James says, "but that's hard to pin down on a conscious level." It's certainly not in his influences. James, 26, says he was trying to be a typical seventh-grader when he first picked up the guitar. "I was heavy into hair metal back then, trying to be tough, trying to fit in, listening to Motley Crue, Metallica," he says. "I knew I loved music and wanted to play it, but I wasn't cool enough to have big hair and leather pants. They'd laugh at me when I tried too hard."
It was revenge of the nerds, James says, when grunge exploded in the early '90s and suddenly it didn't matter what you wore. "A dude in a T-shirt with just his guitar could be taken seriously, could make great music."
Kurt Cobain and company sent many a teenager into many a garage to crank up an amp, just as James did. He found it easy to write songs, but was a sideman in a few bands before he decided to front his own. "I was leaving one band, and writing songs specifically for what I knew would be my next," he says, "and at the top of a page in my notebook, I just wrote 'My Morning Jacket Page.' I don't know what it meant or what it means, I just started calling myself that."
The distinctive sound of My Morning Jacket: lush vocals, dreamy harmonies, roaring guitars piled high in sonic layers, huge drum and bass sounds, all of it awash in reverb that makes it seem like the band is playing in a far-away canyon. In one way, that sound has its roots in the band's geography: "We've recorded some of our tracks in grain silos, actually," says James, pointing out there aren't many silos in New York City. "Also in a big three-car garage and in a bathroom. We just mike them up and turn those spaces into reverb chambers. I admit it. I love reverb. I can't sing without it."
At this point, MMJ fans wouldn't want him to sing without it either, so much has it become a part of their sound. It was the promise that they could stay true to that sound that led the band to sign with the ATO record label, run by Dave Matthews's manager and home to David Gray, North Mississippi Allstars and Patty Griffin, among others. The label promised the group they could record whatever they wanted.
"I can't describe what we do," James says, "we just do it. The songs almost make themselves. We're lucky in that regard, and I try not to think about it or question it. We just go for it and hope we end up on that plane when we're recording or when we're performing. I know there are nights when it's not being channeled, that force or that spirit that you hope for. Then it almost feels like you're wasting your time and no one's getting it. But I've done it enough to know that it'll get better and the next night might be incredible. I'm not that good talking about it."
The more spiritual his words get, the quieter his voice gets. "It's a force. A way of life. It's a religion to me. It's like trying to describe . . . " Long pause. "Hmmm. Nope, can't do it. Can't tell you what it's like. It's not like anything else."
Two days after the Birmingham gig, there's one in Carrboro, N.C., at the renowned Cat's Cradle club. This is My Morning Jacket territory and the place is packed on an icy night. The band comes out with few words. The new members are seamlessly locked to the other three, incorporated into the fold in no time at all. They make a loud and gorgeous sound. James plays with his long hair down in front of his face the whole night. If he has eyes, nose, mouth, it would be hard to prove tonight. His voice -- coming from some invisible source -- cuts through the smoke and through the band's music, boring into the crowd's brains, bringing beatific smiles across the room. James and newcomer Broemel trade solos and riffs that cascade and swirl, counter-melodies to James's voice. It's an impressive performance, and when it ends it just ends. The members of My Morning Jacket put down their instruments and walk off the stage. It doesn't seem dismissive or arrogant. It's just that they've finished playing, and they're done. No encore, no banter, no false gestures.
"Sometimes I wish we didn't have a name," says James, sounding tired. "I wish no one knew who we were. I wish it was just about the music, and that it didn't matter who we were."
He admits to wanting to be a rock star when he was young. "Sure, I wanted to sell 10 million records and pack arenas when I was a kid, but any more I'm thinking that would be scary. When you grow to be an adult, you see how many people in this business are fake. See how many lies are told. So much propaganda, so many schemes. It's less and less about the music. Bands should be able to make it because they're a good band. Make honest music and try to touch people with it."
He hopes that if there's one thing people take away from an MMJ show it's something to do with artistic honesty: "It's not about who you know, it's about what's in your heart," he says. "Not about what you look like or what you wear. Musical fads, big hype waves in the press, none of that is important. What's important is connecting, going out on the road and playing a great concert. I love that. Just connecting with people on that level. It's an honor and I want to go play it for them.
"And if I can pay my bills on top of that, then I'm happy. And really lucky."