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My Morning Jacket Rocks Again: Space Rock, Soul Heartbeat

Fresh from Bonnaroo, we’re talking with Kentucky rockers My Morning Jacket

Lead singer Jim James and My Morning Jacket will be On Point during hour two. (Danny Clinch)

Lead singer Jim James and My Morning Jacket will be On Point during hour two. (Danny Clinch)

The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival always mounts a big line-up in Tennessee.  No exception last summer.  Arcade Fire.  Eminem.  Bruce Hornsby.  Loretta Lynn.  And at the heart of it, the cosmic super-rockers out of Louisville, My Morning Jacket.  They’re a fixture on the indie rock circuit.

Hippie shamans, more Radiohead than Doors, says Rolling Stone.  Now they’ve taken their act back home to Kentucky.

This hour On Point: we ask My Morning Jacket, can you really go home again?

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Jim James, Lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter for My Morning Jacket.

Tom Blankenship, bass guitarist for My Morning Jacket.

Patrick Hallahan, drummer for My Morning Jacket.

Brian Mansfield, the Nashville correspondent and music writer for USA Today who is just back from covering the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee

The band’s new album is “Circuital.” Here’s video of their album release concert in Louisville — directed by filmmaker Todd Haynes.

http://youtu.be/w58uDBTHy_k

http://youtu.be/zeH1qa7QjJk

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    Video is private. Maybe find another way to post it?

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    Maybe consider deleting these comments since you fixed the video. Thanks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1631995954 Julie Gray

    I saw them at Bonnaroo this year and they were amazing!  MMJ is extremely talented and I would see them again in a heartbeat!

  • Maxie Mills

    Nice to hear some positive entertainment …way to go Tom!

  • Michael McGoffin

    Great Bonnaroo gig! Loved that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band who joined them on stage. This shows a wide range of musical interests and influences that makes good bands great!

  • Jon Talley

    I’m a huge MMJ fan, but have yet to hear them live.  I’m a minister who works with college students, and I’ve always been intrigued by Jim James & Co.’s spirituality – particularly with this new album being recorded in a church gym.  Thanks for the quality music guys!

    -Jon
    Lexington, VA

  • Danielle Guinebertiere

    First came across the band while listening to KFOG in San Francisco. I don’t know much about them, but there’s something about the band that pulls at the heart — the lyrics, the instrumentation, the voices, there’s something intangible about the sound, but it gets me every time. Favorite song is Golden. Nice work, guys.

  • Maxie Mills

    Very unique sound, great band!

  • Rpknapper

    To me MMJ is as linked to Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, and Pa Carter as much as the Stones and/or other modern rockers. May the circle remain unbroken borthers, keep the flame burning. See you at Red Rocks in August.

    • Sandy

      Love this comment!  I am a huge Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanly fan (see the Dr. several times).  I compare MMJ to the greats and am constantly trying to recruit everyone I know.  They are so amazing and I can’t get enough!

  • Dave

    Saw them at Sasquatch last year and I’ve been hooked ever since!  My wife and I are Jacket heads now.   We’ve seen them in Los Angeles, Canandaigu, NY and were at their shows in NYC at Terminal 5 last year.   Took a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to see them in April and we’ll see them at Oakland, Seattle, Red Rocks and Lollapoolza this year.   This band puts on an amazing live performance.   Obviously we can’t get enough of them.

  • Anonymous

    I saw them in Charleston last year, and was soooo close to seeing them this year but had to sell my tickets.

    I’m a lyrics guy, and theirs are among the best being written today. Hard to describe how it speaks to me- awareness, connectedness, wonder. And just good music. The idea of “god” seems to come up frequently, but it seems very different from the God I knew growing up, and I love the idea of whatever “it” is.

    Thanks guys!

  • erin

    I love the balance of masculinity and sensitivity in the music of My Morning Jacket. Oftentimes indie bands have a whining sound and these guys have a strength in their sound that mixes nicely with the spirituality and inquisitiveness of their lyrics.

  • http://www.stageshooter.com Rich Gastwirt

    I’ve seen My Morning Jacket a number of times and the music is great, but what really sets them apart is the way Jim James sings straight from the heart.  This is evident with MMJ, but if you have the opportunity to see him sit in with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, you’ll immediately see what I’m talking about.  I see 500+ bands a year (I’m a concert photographer – http://www.stageshooter.com) and one of my favorite performances so far this year was two weeks ago when Jim joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Mountain Jam.  The MMJ set was great as well, of course.  Do a youtube search to see what I’m talking about…

  • Amylfishback

    Best show at Bonnaroo!!! I went to the show with people who’d never seen MMJ live and (honest to goodness) they thanked me afterward for telling them to go with me Friday night! I said, this is my hometown band, believe me, they put on a show! Thanks guys!

  • BHA in Vermont

    My pet peeve with rock music, not specific to this band:
    The instruments are too loud making the vocals hard to hear and understand. Save the ‘loud’ (if you must be loud) for instrumental parts.

  • RBteachky262011

    I’ve followed MMJ for years, have really enjoyed watching (hearing) the style progress.  I had misunderstood the new album to be very Christian, and was elated to hear Jim James describe it as non-secular.  That is an important message to get out to fans, I feel.

    Thanks for all that you do!  Life wouldn’t be as rich without artists as talented and thoughtful as My Morning Jacket.

  • DJCarbo

    Great to hear you guys in this context and kudos to Tom for having you on. By all accounts that I have heard personally you ruled Bonnaroo (again) and can’t wait to see you again this summer! The webcast was amazing, well done.

  • Maxiemills

    Tell us about writing the Librarian song!

  • Fleurdelivre

    “Traveling Pants”, “My Morning Jacket”, titles including articles of clothing equal adulation.

  • Casey

    Are you (the band) surprised by your level of success? I’ve never heard your music before this program but to me it is very forgetful. Sorry I know that you’re getting a lot of nice compliments here. My question is serious though – do you ever wonder why your sound/band works when so many others fail.

    • Ruens

      I agree. Sounds like Southern Rock to me. Nothing more or less. I thought this was kind of a pointless show. You could feature any band that has been around for a significant amount of time and have all their fans calling in to gush.

    • bill

      I had a similar feeling when trying to listen to their recordings initially, but seeing them perform their songs live completely changed my mind about them. They are true originals blending everything from southern rock to techno to soul to funk, and they perform their music passionately for the audience. I went from “meh” to “love” in about 3 live songs.  

  • Ryan

    I love this band so much that I have taken out a personal loan on more than one occasion to see them. 

    Was it Stupid?…Yes    

    Was it Worth It?….Absolutely!!!

  • Jentedn

    We LOVE MMJ. We’ve seen them 4 times now! In Boston, at Red Rocks and two different Bonnaroos. In 2008 my husband spent 3 hours in the pouring rain to watch them at Bonnaroo and he still talks about that experience as being a transcendent experience and one of the best concerts he’s ever been to.

    MMJ are true rock stars! Jim James has amazing charisma and the entire band connects with audience on a spiritual and emotional level. And the music is joyful and deep and crazy good! Thank you!

  • Jack Porter

          Tom, I’m looking forward to your talk at ISU on the 24th.  
          Have you ever taken up the topic of payday lending?  I have just finished Quick Cash: The Story of the Loan Shark, by Robert Mayer of Loyola U. in Chicago, published last year, a thorough discussion of 175 years of loan sharking in Illinois and elsewhere.  
           Illinois People’s Action, a faith-based community organization of which First Presbyterian Church and New Covenant Community are affiliates, among many others, is proposing that cities such as Bloomington and Normal use their home rule power to regulate payday loans more strictly than the State of Illinois does.  Illinois allows 400% annual percentage rate charges.  We propose a limit of 36.5%.  (The U.S. military has a 36% limit for its personnel.)  We have given a draft ordinance to the Bloomington and Normal legal staffs, and the proposal is being considered.
            It will be good to see you.

            Jack Porter
        

  • Jack Porter

          Tom, I’m looking forward to your talk at ISU on the 24th.  
          Have you ever taken up the topic of payday lending?  I have just finished Quick Cash: The Story of the Loan Shark, by Robert Mayer of Loyola U. in Chicago, published last year, a thorough discussion of 175 years of loan sharking in Illinois and elsewhere.  
           Illinois People’s Action, a faith-based community organization of which First Presbyterian Church and New Covenant Community are affiliates, among many others, is proposing that cities such as Bloomington and Normal use their home rule power to regulate payday loans more strictly than the State of Illinois does.  Illinois allows 400% annual percentage rate charges.  We propose a limit of 36.5%.  (The U.S. military has a 36% limit for its personnel.)  We have given a draft ordinance to the Bloomington and Normal legal staffs, and the proposal is being considered.
            It will be good to see you.

            Jack Porter
        

  • Louisville Jim

    Thank you fine gentlemen for helping to bring back the 40-45 minute album with Circuital.  It plays to me like an old school late 70′s rock album, a picture of where the band is now.  It seems to be a current trend: Pearl Jam’s Backspacer, The Decemberists’ The King is Dead, Radiohead’s The King of Limbs (Circuital is the best of the bunch!!).

  • Sheila

    I love the diversity in their music.  They are genre defying and there is an MMJ song for any mood you could ever possibly be in.

  • Zach in Louisville, KY

     Music does this funny thing where you tell all your friends about this awesome new band called MMJ who’re playing at the Rudyard Kipling this weekend, then everybody starts loving them and they get bigger shows and all the sudden you think, what the hell?  How did that happen?  There are times I’ve felt that there is less and less of my favorite band to go around, and my piece has gotten smaller and smaller, but what’s happening now and the circuital makes me smile and realize that any of that BS is in my head.  Love you guys, and it’s clear you love me too.

  • Theresa W

    I am from the Louisville area and I have only had the privilege of seeing the guys live once.  (That was back in 2001 on Derby Eve at a local club.)  I have followed them since and become more fond of them as time goes by.  It has been a lot of fun seeing where their creativity has taken them.

  • Red

    My Morning Jacket restored my faith in Kentucky art. Being from Eastern KY, I had my bags packed and was halfway out the door, ready to leave the state for good in search of some new artistic enlightenment, when low and behold they appeared. Right in my own backyard…

    Thanks for everything, guys.

  • Mike Sr.

    As a 60-year old former musician, I’m quick to turn off something I don’t like.  MMJ’s music has a very enjoyable feel I’ve always enjoyed, especially at the Lou. Palace show 5 years ago.  Balance is the key to longevity so keep doing what you’re doing guys.  Pace yourself & be safe on this tour.

  • Steve

    I heard some great music played during a break at 1:30pm yesterday, Wednesday 6/15. Can you please tell me the artist/group/song/CD?

    thank you for your help and thanks for such a great program.

    Stephen.Friend@focustechnologygroup.com

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  • Anonymous

    The reason people like these guys is because they just play music. There’s a great interview of Jim in ‘This is Not America’ he talks about the music all people can relate to and what influences him and the list is just perfect, the music that anyone can listen to and enjoy or at least understand.

    • Stlhead

      great music we havent had any bands recently that have what these guys have just play the music for the music 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramseymedia-Manchester/1566996679 Ramseymedia Manchester

    Jim hit upon a point about MMJ’s Bonnaroo performances. I own the local newspaper in Manchester, Tennessee, and have attended and covered the festival since it crawled like an army into this town of 10,000. Jim spoke of the band’s spiritual connection to the actual plot of earth that the festival occupies. He doesn’t know how right he is.
    This town was built on an ancient prayer ground – a gathering place for people living 1400+ years ago to meet to mark the summer solstice sunrise(s). It is also being speculated by those who speculate about such things, that the particular plot of land where the actual summer rituals took place is a sort of Stonehenge…that it sits upon an earth meridian, and is a “power center”. It is a difficult thing to fully understand without direct experience at the place.  The ritual grounds are on a 52-acre piece of land that splits two small, individual rivers and unites them on the back end of the place. This oval-shaped 52 acres (now a state park with a name, Old Stone Forst State Park, that is wholly a misnomer. The place IS old. But most of the “stone” at the park covers the quaint and damp visitor’s center. And it is a “fish-kill” as any type of defensive rampart.) is ringed on the edges by carefully-formed earthen mounds. These are not fortifications, nor are they burial mounds. The real truth is that they are tangible evidence of a spiritual connection that has been unplugged in our modern predicament.
    Jim and MMJ ARE plugged-in. That is why they perform masterpiece moments at Bonnaroo whose site sits less than two miles from Old Stone Fort State Park.

  • coleman

    i feel like the band is constantly doing everything possible to connect with the fans and appearing on this radio show is really one of their best efforts.  that is why i love this band so much, they give you this luminous feeling that you belong.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christi-Barber-Page/100000392820708 Christi Barber Page

    Love MMJ! Walked down the aisle at my wedding in October to “Wonderful.”
     

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