The World's Smiling Now - Jim James

from the album Eternally Even (2016)

I always enjoy when a musician takes risk and expands into previously unexplored genres.  I particularly dig it when the motivation in artistic (as opposed to mercenary).

Such is the case with Jim James new album, Eternally Even.  Most noted as the frontman of the rock band My Morning Jacket, he has on occasion followed Dylan down the folk rabbit hole to ultimately perform the music of Woody Guthrie.  Great stuff.

However, on this album he explores R&B and Soul vibes.  In my mind, these are dangerous waters.  Rockers can go Folk, Country, or Blues with relative ease.  Even Jazz is accessible to a well schooled musician.  But Soul music is a different kind of thing.  I believe that Soul music - particularly the vocals - come from a place deep inside and that this ability is God given.

Soul singing involves things that are simply intangible.  You "feel" it in the space between a vibratos highs and lows.  When it is right, there is nothing better.

For this reason, the song I dig most on Jim James' new album is The World's Smiling Now.  Close your eyes and take a listen.  You can almost feel Jim James channeling nights spent singing along to Bill Withers records.  To attempt it is commendable.  To deliver earns my deepest respect.

As you listen, ask yourself what rockers you know that could pull this tune off.  Bravo.

Click Here to listen to The World's Smiling Now.

Click Here to read my November 2012 blog post of the Woody Guthrie song My Revolutionary Mind.  This recording was performed by a group of great musicians that included Jim James (under the pseudonym Yim Yames).