Although best known as the frontman of indie cult classic My Morning Jacket, Jim James (who often goes by Yim Yames) now inhabits a wider role in the indie world as a solo artist. James has collaborated with everyone from M. Ward and Bright Eyes to Bobby Bare Jr.
James, born James Edward Olliges Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, has developed an entire career based on eclectic sounds and styles. As the vocalist, producer and driving force behind My Morning Jacket, James pioneered the unique sound now associated with the band. From the evocative reverb heard on The Tennessee Fire to the blend of Americana, folk and reggae found on Z, James and My Morning Jacket have a notable sound that has since emanated through other indie acts. The band has been characterized as hillbilly hipsters, or is said to be trying to bring soul back to rock music. Both ideas are traceable to James’ love of Motown and are borne out in My Morning Jacket’s fanbase: cool, suburban dads and critics alike.
James is perhaps most notable for his otherworldly vocal style, which combines a heavy echo that submerges topical lyrics. He has a discography totaling eight records, with the aforementioned My Morning Jacket, one with Monsters of Folk, one with The New Basement Tapes and four as a solo artist. His latest endeavor, Eternally Even, out last month, contains some of his most psychedelic music yet. Throughout his years and many acts, James’s music has expanded from his original country and rock roots to funk, reggae and galactic sounds. James, in any band, is able to wield the simmering elements of synth, saxophone and electric guitar and combines them with inward-looking lyrics.»
– Samantha Lopez
*Jim James plays Roseland Theater on Dec. 7. Get tickets here.