Jim James amps up the spirituality on latest release
BY CHRIS TALBOTT April 17, 2013 3:05PM
My Morning jacket's singer Jim James performs during the Lollapalooza music festival at Grant Park in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
♦ 8 p.m. April 20
♦ The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield
♦ Sold Out
Updated: April 19, 2013 3:58PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James thinks music is a spiritual force that can unite humanity.
“I feel like society likes to highlight our differences so much, to make us feel so isolated and so separated and so different,” James said. “Music does that a lot, too. The walls are put up so big. What could a country music fan possibly have in common with a hip-hop fan? I feel if you take everything down to the core, it’s the same in a beautiful way. It’s all the same.”
James is touring to promote his first solo album “Regions of Light and Sound of God,” which came out in February.
He often thinks about the connections between people and the world around us — both on the physical plane and beyond it. His spiritual explorations have driven some of My Morning Jacket’s best music, but he takes it to a different level on the new album.
The 34-year-old began the album as several threads came together in his life. First, he built a quality professional studio in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. And inspired by a gift from a friend, he’d started writing music to accompany the 1929 wordless graphic novel “God’s Man,” told through a series of wood engravings by American artist Lynd Ward.
A short time later he fell off the stage during a dark moment at a 2008 performance and his life took a strange turn during his recovery.
“It was horrible,” James said. “It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. It was a nightmare and it definitely sent me to a really bad place. It kind of paralleled this book, ‘God’s Man,’ I was reading. I felt like I was part of the book or sucked into the book or something for a while. Also, good happened because I was brought out of that and came out of that and sort of good stuff happened. And that sort of happened in the book, too. It was definitely a major event for me. It definitely shaped the album.”
James played most of the instruments on “Regions of Light” and broadens his already wide-ranging sound. He was trying to get the sounds that resonate in his head as he ponders deep questions on tape so the listener could join in.
“People have said many times ‘God is love,’ and I feel like an extension of that is love to mean spiritual love, physical love, mental love, the act of creation,” James said. “I think anybody who loves what they do loves that point in time when you get lost and you’re gone and you’re not there anymore. You’re working so hard on something you’re writing. Or if you’re a basketball player you’re playing the game or if you’re a musician you’re playing a concert and you’re kind of lost in space and time and you’re not thinking about all the mundane [expletive] that we think about. To me that’s like the closest glimpse at God.”