Singer-songwriter Jim James is best known as the frontman of Kentucky-based rock band My Morning Jacket. But he's got a lot more aces up his sleeve, as he's shown in recent years. In February, he released his debut solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, earning positive reviews from Paste and Pitchfork. He's also added producer and film star to his list of job titles.
Get acquainted with his lesser-known talents, some of which he'll showcase at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 8.
For Regions of Light, James stepped out of My Morning Jacket's shadow with a set of genre-bending songs that explore spirituality outside the confines of religion. Besides singing, he tackled many of the instruments and produced the album. Its tracks draw influence from Lynd Ward's wordless graphic novel, Gods' Man, which was published in 1929, as well as deep-thinking modern songwriters like Marvin Gaye.
James already has two supergroups attached to his name: a project that's brought some of Woody Guthrie's unpublished lyrics to life and Monsters of Folk, which includes fellow stars M. Ward and Conor Oberst. James has also been hard at work with up-and-coming singer-songwriters like Daniel Martin Moore and projects like Tribute To. It's an EP of George Harrison covers released to raise money for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which provides care and shelter for mistreated cows, goats and other critters.
Recently James produced That's It!, the first record of original songs by New Orleans' legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, founded in the early 1960s. The musicians pooled their experience to create an inspired album that honors the band's roots.
Jamming with Bob Dylan
This summer James returned to My Morning Jacket for an Americana-themed tour with Wilco and one of his favorite singers: Bob Dylan, whose songs he performed in the 2007 biopic I'm Not There. James got many chances to join Zimmy onstage, which means he should be feeling inspired when he visits Madison.