Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back to Basics


My. Morning. Jacket! One of the great American rock groups that we were lucky to have as part of our generation's line-up have returned with a new album - and it's back to the stripped down, folk-rock goodness that made these ramblin' rockers famous and dear to our hearts. They're back to those basics; the classic folk rock surges that we all know can be lacking in a day and age of stimulated, highly innovative and boundaryless music-making. Nothing wrong with either category, but damn, does it feel good to be brought back down to feel-good rock.

Trusted and held high as suppliers of the classic Americana folk-rock genre that holds both free-spirited strums and worldly insight, Kentucky's My Morning Jacket have taken little journeys all over the proverbial music map. Starting out with an indie roots-rock presence on their debut 1999 release The Tennessee Fire and experimenting with moments of more charged psychedelic rock over the decade, they've garnered attention more so for their wisdom, versatility and number one kick-ass weapon - the high-pitched howls of Mr. Jim James. Scruffy and goofy but with mesmerizing powerful pipes, James is the golden thread throughout the entire operation.

And, the story is no different on their country-rock title-track single "Circuital". Starting with a quiet, popping acoustic loop under James' soft croons, we're teased with interjections of upbeat acoustic spurts until we're pulled back into the gradual opening chords. Before long, they give into our impatience, allowing the slam of the electric guitar and hurried strums to sweep us up and into the real deal. The song goes from 10 to 180 in a matter of seconds, when clapping countryside drums, fluttering piano beauty and soaring electric wails put you in a euphoric state of MMJ comfort. A drawn-out outro jam that's decked with the opening magical plucks, growling guitar riffs and James' falsetto notes are the only three ingredients I need to be sure that this album is going to be one even our kids and kid's kids will play during their own summertime adventures down the road. Nearly biblical rock melodies and profound storytelling are hard to find nowadays, so it's good to know that the boys are back in town to get the job done; the job being, somehow creating music that sounds like rolling hills and fading country sunlight.

Here are an old-school MMJ track and classic MMJ cover to lead into the shiny new jam:

                            "Bermuda Highway" - My Morning Jacket (off 2001's At Dawn)


            "It Makes No Difference" - My Morning Jacket (originally sung by The Band)

"Circuital" - My Morning Jacket

Look for the new album 'Circuital' on May 31st, 2011

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