My Morning Jacket w/Jason Isbell @ Merriweather Post Pavilion - 7/26/15

My Morning Jacket w/Jason Isbell @ Merriweather Post Pavilion - 7/26/15

A swelteringly hot summer evening couldn’t stop the rock on Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where My Morning Jacket and Jason Isbell came to share material from their recent albums and more.

A lauded guitarist and songwriter, Isbell released his fifth record,  Something More Than Free, just over a week ago. The album has already broken expectations by reaching number one on not just the country Billboard charts, but on the rock, indie, and folk charts as well. At the core of his 11-song opening set were five tracks from that album, along with several each from the previous two releases, Southeastern and Here We Rest. Longtime fans even got some service in “Decoration Day,” the title track of one the Drive-By Truckers – a band Isbell famously did some time in – most memorable albums.

Isbell’s songs are narratives; each one feeling like it has a story to tell, something which could easily be lost to an opening act in a venue the size of Merriweather where thousands of people are there only to see the main act (especially a quiet country artist opening for a rock band known for their much louder performances). But Isbell and his band the 400 Unit managed to draw the attention of that crowd surprisingly well, and by the end of his set he’d surely made more than a few new fans.

Review: My Morning Jacket - Circuital

Let's get this out of the way— We all know that Jim James’s voice is 100% certified bad ass. The man can sing anything, anything at all, and somewhere deep inside, you WILL like it. Even haters of the band’s 2008 record Evil Urges, of which I am not one, couldn’t deny that no matter how strange, or just plain silly, the songs got, at least you could take comfort in the ghostly beauty of that voice.

On that album, instead of just hinting at (or if you prefer, half-assing) the child-like humor that many of My Morning Jacket’s previous songs cautiously flirted with, the band whole heartedly embraced the funny, and went as far as they could possibly go with it. It felt liberating even as a listener, so I can’t imagine what it was like for the band to finally get that off their chest. And that may be why Circuital, despite it being their sixth full length album, feels like a record that was made by a band caught squarely in the middle of a sophomore slump...

Daily Listen: My Morning Jacket - Wonderful (The Way I Feel)

Sometimes it's rocks. Sometimes it's weird. Sometimes it is deeply silly. Say whatever you like about My Morning Jacket's music, there is no way around the fact that Jim James' voice is a force of nature. Ferocious when he wants to be, gorgeous more often than not, when James opens his mouth to sing you are forced to listen up, even if the song itself isn't that great. Fortunately this song sort of is that great. 

This track from their new album Circuital shows off the softer, more contemplative (and I think better) side of My Morning Jacket by keeping it simple and just playing to the strenth of Jame's voice. It's an island in the middle of a somewhat uneven ocean of an album, but it makes the journey to this track very much worth it.

My Morning Jacket - "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)

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