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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Nothing To It” by The New Basement Tapes

The New Basement Tapes | Photo courtesy of the artist
The New Basement Tapes | Photo courtesy of the artist

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, is a new collaborative album project from Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) and producer T Bone Burnett. The album, which will be released on November 11th, celebrates the discovery of never before heard handwritten Bob Dylan lyrics from his 1967 “Basement Tapes” writing and recording period. Continue reading →

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Firefly Day Two Roundup: Jim James, Edward Sharpe, Chvrches and more

Jim James | Photo by John Vettese
Jim James | Photo by John Vettese
Wow, we saw so many bands at day two of Firefly Music Festival! To keep this recap from getting too unwieldy (since there’s a whole other day of the festival to get to), we’ll keep our thoughts to one or two sentences per artist.

Japandroids: two-piece garage punk is dicey in a festival setting, and the sound was muffled and muddy, but “The House that Heaven Built” ruled. Hi fives to all crowd surfers as they exited the pit.

Seattle’s string-laden Hey Marseilles was lush, pretty, but kind of boring. The handclap / crowd-participatory “Rio” saved their set.

Jim JamesRegions of Light was transcendent in the close quarters of Johnny Brenda’s and Union Transfer; it lost a bit of its cosmic potency in open air. But James is still a tremendous performer, showman, dancer and must have been roasting in that suit with the afternoon heat.

Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar was an energizing stage presence and had the crowd hanging on his every rhyme. Scotland dance pop trio Chvrches was also charismatic and fun (see them at Union Transfer tonight) while Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros got us excited for our own festival.

Next: a double shot of dynamic front women. Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs has always rocked the stage with an unbelievable energy, whether it was the Church basement for 300 people or this festival for 10,000 people; “Zero” was unreal, the inflatable eyeball bouncing around the crowd was a nice touch. And New York rapper Azealia Banks, backed by a DJ and two dancers, gave a spitfire performance of songs from her 1991 EP, her Fantasy mixtape and the (eventually) forthcoming Broke With Expensive Taste.

Finally, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined the day with an uneven but well-received performance. The singalong hits and moments where the Heartbreakers stayed focused a la “Love is a Long Road” were outstanding, but when the band lapsed into drivelly jams, not so much. Still, there’s no feeling like singing “Free Fallin’” at the top of your lungs with a field of people. Photos after the jump. Continue reading →

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My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James remixes Bob Marley (MMJ playing XPoNential Music Festival/AmericanaRama Festival of Music in July)

marleyremixed Jim James frontman for My Morning Jacket has remixed a Bob Marley song for Legend Remixed, out on June 25. Legend Remixed is exactly what the title suggests; a remix/reimagination of Marley’s iconic 1984 greatest hits collection Legend. All of Legend’s 16 songs have been remixed by various DJ’s and producers including Stephen Marley, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Z-Trip with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Roni Size, along with a new rendition and remix of the Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song’” by Ziggy Marley. Jim James told the Wall Street Journal:

“I wanted to give the listener a sense of the same awe I felt when I first pulled up the multi-track masters and soloed out the vocals only. It was so unbelievable for me to finally be able to hear the voice I had loved for so long all by itself. So I built the opening around the vocal with minimal bass synth and percussion as well as adding some harmonies in myself.”

Go here to read more about James’ work on the album. My Morning Jacket appears at the AmericanaRama Festival of Music on July 28 with Bob Dylan, Wilco and Ryan Bingham, as part of the XPoNential Music Fetival. Below, listen to James’ remix of “Waiting In Vain.”

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Photo and video recap: Jim James at Union Transfer


Jim James played a sold out show at Union Transfer on Saturday evening. Kate McCann was there to take photos. Below, watch a couple of fan videos from the show, and a setlist.

Setlist via.
State of the Art
Know Til Now
Dear One
A New Life
Exploding
Of the Mother Again
Actress
All if Forgvien
God’s Love
Encore:
Bermuda Highway
Wonderful
Dear God
His Master’s Voice
The Right Place
Losin’ Yo Head
Changing World

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Download a World Cafe session with Jim James (playing a sold-out show at Union Transfer tomorrow night)

jim james

So somehow you weren’t able to get tickets to see Jim James at Johnny Brenda’s last month and
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James recently appeared on World Cafe after releasing his debut solo effort Regions of Light and Sound of God.  Discussing a transitional period he went through following a 2008 tour and the inspiration he drew from Lynd Ward’s graphic novel God’s Man, James and World Cafe host David Dye move through the musicians’ thought process and songwriting techniques for this latest album in between performances of “State of the Art,” “Know Til Now,” “Dear One” and “New Life.”  Stream and download the episode of World Cafe’s Words & Music podcast below. Don’t miss a single episode of the weekly podcast of a World Cafe session. You can subscribe here.

Jim James/My Morning Jacket play this summer on Sunday, July 27 at the XPoNential Music Festival with Bob Dylan, Wilco, and Ryan Bingham as part of the AmericanaramA Festival of Music. Weekend passes are available here.

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Listen to My Morning Jacket cover John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” (MMJ lead singer Jim James playing sold out show at Union Transfer in April)

john_denver
My Morning Jacket cover “Leaving On A Jet Plane” on a new John Denver tribute album, The Music is You: A Tribute To John Denver, out on April 2nd on ATO Records. MMJ lead singer Jim James recently played Johnny Brenda’s and returns to town to play a sold out show at Union Transfer on April 27th.

Track List:
“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by My Morning Jacket
“Take Me To Tomorrow” by Dave Matthews
“All of My Memories” by Kathleen Edwards
“Prisoners” by J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten
“Sunshine On My Shoulders” by Train
“Back Home Again” by Old Crow Medicine Show
“This Old Guitar” by Lucinda Williams
“Some Days are Diamonds” by Amos Lee
“Rocky Mountain High” by Allen Stone
“Annie’s Song” by Brett Dennen and Milow
“Looking For Space” by Evan Dando
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris
“The Eagle and The Hawk” by Blind Pilot
“I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Darcy Farrow” by Josh Ritter and Barnstar!
“Wooden Indian” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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Exploring Regions of Light with Jim James at Johnny Brenda’s (photos, review, setlist)

All Photos by Eric Ashleigh | showtographe.com

The energy was unreal. A couple hundred fans of exploratory Americana band My Morning Jacket (and its far-out frontman Jim James) packed into the cozy confines of Johnny Brenda’s last night for a full performance of Regions of Light and Sound of God, James’ thought-provoking and eclectic solo debut on ATO Records.

The album has only been out for a few weeks, but the crowd was massively responsive to the relatively new material, beginning with progressive opener “State of the Art.” Rhodes keys and James’ haunting vocals were augmented with a deep bass groove and a fierce drumbeat, and the room cheered wildly with each new layer as the man at the mic wrestled with the thought of technology that’s “supposed to make for better living, but are we better human beings?”

A surprising but certainly apt question to pose on a journey through eclectic electronic soundscapes. Continue reading →

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Watch a new music video for Jim James’ “New Life” (playing two sold-out shows in Philly this winter / spring)

Photo by Neil Krug

We’ve got to hand it to Jim James – for such a hot commodity (two Philly shows sold out in less than 24 hours), he’s not afraid to keep things interesting and unusual. Of course, that’s exactly what makes him so in-demand. A new music video for “New Life” from Regions of Light and Sound of God starts off hushed and acoustic in a minimally lit room – whether musically or visually, James’ knows how to strike a way-intimate tone – but as the beat kicks in, he walks through a doorway and into a delightfully surreal take on the Great Plains. Watch the video in the player below. Jim James plays a sold-out Johnny Brenda’s on February 19th and a sold-out Union Transfer on April 27th.

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The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Nightlands, Catnaps and Thao)

Nightlands | Photo by Matthew Davis

Prairie Empire stops by to record a Folkadelphia session [link]

Philly’s Nightlands celebrates the release of Oak Island at Kung Fu Necktie [link]

My Morning Jacket’s Jim James streams his new album, announces a Union Transfer show [link]

Philly rockers Free Energy get interviewed by a couple sixth graders [link]

Remembering versatile guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, who passed away at age 54 this week [link]

Indiepop five-piece Catnaps releases a new EP for free downloading [link]

Shoegazers Nothing will make the First Friday crowd wish they packed earplugs [link]

Lancaster folk trio The Stray Birds records a Key Studio Session, comes to World Cafe Live [link]

Philly rapper Chill Moody releases a mini-documentary of his December TLA show [link]

Thao Nguyen plays “We The Common” on a banjo, through a microphone, at a rally [link]

All week the Unlocked series features Almost Endless, the new LP from The National Rifle [link]