My Morning Jacket
In its original incarnation, from the early '70s to the early '80s, Southern Rock was a sharp sound that featured husky voices and just a hint of Country. But without anywhere to go and the death of key players (Duane Allman and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant) it went into remission. Some twenty years later, Southern Rock returned with groups like the Kings Of Leon and My Morning Jacket. Like anything else that gets musically reborn, they are not a carbon copy of the past but rather a reinterpretation. And sharing a trait of many great Southern Rock bands, My Morning Jacket started as a family project.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, My Morning Jacket started as a partnership of cousins Jim James (vocals/guitar) and Johnny Quaid (guitar). In '98, the duo added Two-Tone Tommy (bass) and J. Glenn (drums). They landed an indie deal and released their debut "Tennessee Fire."
At the end of a lengthy tour, Glenn departed and was replaced by K.C. Gueting. The group also added Danny Cash on keyboards. This line-up recorded "At Dawn." Soon though, Gueting's brief tenure was over and Patrick Hallahan was on the drum stool. Signed by RCA, My Morning Jacket released the EP "Sweatbees" before unfurling their full-length major label debut "It Still Moves."
The group played nearly 400 shows in 18 months to promote the album (that's enough to wear anybody out). Then, in early '04 both Quaid and Cash departed. Guitarist Carl Broemel and keyboardist Bo Koster were brought on board.
Since using the studio located on Quaid's grandparent's farm, where they recorded "It Still Moves," was not an option, My Morning Jacket traveled to upstate New York's Allaire Studios to lay down tracks for their sophomore release "Z." The group was also seen in the Cameron Crowe disaster Elizabethtown where they portrayed a fictional band called Ruckus and took a swing at Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird."
My Morning Jacket presented a live career retrospective (to date) when they unfurled '06's "Okonokos." That was followed by "Evil Urges" in '08. Prior to the album's release the group appeared on Saturday Night Live where they performed the title track and "I'm Amazed."
Taking a break from My Morning Jacket, James was part of Monsters Of Folk with M. Ward and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis. Though the four had played together both informally and onstage since '04, it wasn't until '09 that they released their self-titled debut.
A Madison Square Garden concert, that was part on CNN's '09 New Year's Eve show, preceded an Australian tour opening for Neil Young (of course). Returning to the the U.S., My Morning Jacket put out "Celebracion de la Ciudad Natal," a live set, on Record Store Day (4/18).
The group's sixth studio album," Circuital," dropped in '11. "There's something old and dirty-sounding about it," claimed James.
In 14, My Morning Jacket announced that they were working on two new albums. The first, "The Waterfall," contained the single "Big Decisions."
The following April, My Morning Jacket played their first concert in two years. It was at the Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, a venue they hadn't played in over a decade. That show, and another the following night, served as a warm-up for their tour to promote "The Waterfall."
Just prior to the album's release, the group announced the launch of a philanthropic effort. "The Waterfall Project supports & promotes engagement around causes we hold dear," My Morning Jacket wrote in a statement. "In 2015, the Waterfall will focus on supporting and amplifying environment and climate issues."
Next, James released his second solo effort, "Eternally Even." The album followed James' '13 solo debut "Regions Of Light And Sound Of God."
1999 The Tennessee Fire
2001 At Dawn
2003 It Still Moves
2008 Evil Urges
2015 The Waterfall
2009 Live From Las Vegas Exclusively At The Palms
2009 Celebracion de la Ciudad Natal
Somebody might want to check the birth certificate because Jim James sounds like Neil Young's offspring. However unlikely that may be, James is at the very least channeling Young. He has captured both Young's twang and drawl.
Over the course of their recording career, My Morning Jacket has moved away from acoustic Country influenced material. That and improved songwriting has made them a better band.
While My Morning Jacket has been called an American take on Radiohead (is that a compliment?), they're best when they play it straight because their songs defy a simple appraisal and have their own intrinsic appeal.