My Morning Jacket played their entire new album, “The Waterfall“, in order from start to finish in front of a live audience for KCRW at Mack Sennett Studio last night before the initial kick off to their tour.
I have no doubt that if Jim James decided to become a cult leader, people would follow him anywhere.
He’s a cosmic warrior with a voice that manages to encompass the entire range of human emotion over the course of an album.
James explained to the crowd that while he’s never given birth, he can identify with the feeling, saying that the songs were “just born” and, as such, are so “new and fragile.”
He says they take on different dimensions as the band starts playing them live. It’s a long way from the relatively secluded studio where they recorded the track in the coastal town of Stinson Beach.
Guitarist Carl Broemel has always been a bit of a secret weapon, but he seems to be relishing the well-deserved spotlight more and more (for his backing vocals alone, not to mention his guitar wizardry).
The rhythm section of drummer extraordinaire Patrick Hallahan, founding member and bassist Tom Blankenship and keyboardist Bo Koster lock in to drive the groove and it’s a beautiful thing. They’re all incredible musicians and watching them is a thrill every single time.
I love when they go deep into a jam, like on the album’s final track ” Only Memories Remain”, but with James’ otherworldly howl on “Spring”, the instant catchiness of “Big Decisions“, the painfully blunt break up ballad “Get the Point” and, my current favorite, “Compound Fracture“, there is a lot to love on this record.
They closed the show with an encore of favorites from 2011’s “Circuital” AND a New Basement Tapes track — “Wonderful” – which prompted half the audience to raise their cell phones – “Down on the Bottom”, “Circuital”, and, finally, “Victory Dance”.
No one left disappointed. My Morning Jacket is a band that ALWAYS delivers.
The session will air on Morning Becomes Eclectic on May 13 and you can view a few songs right now over at NPR Music.
My Morning Jacket @ Mack Sennett Studios
1. Believe (Nobody Knows)
2. Compound Fracture
3. Like a River
4. In It’s Infancy (The Waterfall)
5. Get the Point
6. Spring (Among the Living)
7. Thin Line
8. Big Decisions
9. Tropics (Erase Traces)
10. Only Memories Remain
12. Down on Bottom
14. Victory Dance
Jim James – vocals/guitar
Tom Blankenship – bass
Patrick Hallahan – drums
Carl Broemel – guitar/vocals
Bo Koster – keyboards
***All photos by Ethan Shvartzman