Pick: Jim James

September 10
Jim James w/ Basia Bulat
Slowdown, 729 North 14th St.
9 p.m., $27, onepercentproductions.com

Regions of Light and Sound of God is Jim James' first true showcase of solo material, after having released material penned by Woody Guthrie and George Harrison. Of those two tribute subjects, the Beatles' Harrison is the more apparent influence on James' 2013 release. But James' tastes have dabbled all across the spectrum since his main act My Morning Jacket began in the late 1990s. That band started conjuring a world where folk, Southern rock and Neil Young-inspired Americana were swathed in an ethereal psychedelic wonderment and drenched in billowing, warm reverb. But over time, My Morning Jacket too morphed with elements of reggae, rubbery funk and synth lines colored the band's shifting sound. Despite that sense of openness in My Morning Jacket's sound, James still found reason to craft this solo album. To that end, the results are more homespun than the last MMJ studio releases. The production ties the album's more disparate musical strands together. Standout track "Know Til Now" brings to mind a humbler, looser version of the Flaming Lips. "A New Life" is a stripped bare showcase for James' acrobatic, but gently warm vocals. James remains connected to Omaha's own golden folk idols, as he's recorded with Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst and fellow non-Omahan M. Ward collectively as the Monsters of Folk.

posted at 07:07 am
on Tuesday, September 03rd, 2013

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