Filed Under:

Jim James: On A Spiritual Quest In The Digital Age

Play associated audio

When he's leading his band My Morning Jacket, Jim James often comes across as a seeker — someone with at least passing curiosity about the metaphysical, if not the unknowable. On his first solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, his questioning goes a bit deeper.

Throughout the record, James is the typical lost soul looking for anything genuine in a sea of artifice. His vulnerable melodies give off a sense of profound doubt, like in "Actress," in which he watches a movie actress on the screen and wonders whether personality can be powerful enough to distort reality.

James isn't too sure about organized religion, either. He does believe in the notion of a higher power, and his faith in it animates the best of these songs. He works himself into a mood of fervent conviction in "All Is Forgiven," which explores trust and forgiveness.

People who know My Morning Jacket might hear that track and say that James is just re-branding songs that his band might have done better. But the rest of the album takes him far from his comfort zone. Playing most of the instruments himself, he journeys into the introspective aura of John Lennon's later solo work and the upbeat pop grooves that recall Motown in the early '70s.

Shifting away from the intensity of his band recordings, James allows his calm, beautifully expressive voice to become the central focus of this record. At once reflective and bewildered, he's in it for the long haul — asking the kinds of questions that don't have easy answers.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Professional Wrestling World Mourns Longtime Star 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

The Canadian entered the WWF as a villain and fought Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the first Wrestlemania event. The career gave the often-bekilted grappler many chances to show off his bagpipe skills.
WAMU 88.5

Donald Trump Sues Chef José Andrés Over Hotel Pullout

Trump has filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against Chef José Andrés and his companies after Andrés announced that he's canceling plans to have a restaurant inside Trump's Old Post Office hotel in downtown D.C.
NPR

Pacific Trade Pact In Limbo As Talks End Without A Deal

Disagreements remain among the 12 countries regarding drug patents, market access and more, and likely will delay congressional debate of any eventual agreement into 2016.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.