Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 10:58 pm est

Jim James’ debut album highlights his philosophy

Posted on February 6, 2013 | by Alexandria Ethridge

With his debut solo album “Regions of Light and Sound of God,” Jim James has apparently taken a page out of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” and done his best to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

While “Regions” is certainly a departure from his previous work, the My Morning Jacket frontman delivers a solid album of multi-genre medleys that will have you casting aside your Netflix queue in favor of some classic transcendentalist poetry. Whereas James’ last album with MMJ, the well-received “Circuital,” bordered on the edge of alternative, his solo effort is a soulful and psychedelic experience from start to finish.

James based “Regions” on graphic novelist Lynd Ward’s “Son of God,” which celebrates a humble, idyllic life over one of wealth and fame. In that mold, the album opens with classic piano, orchestral strings and soft static, giving the impression that the song was recorded live. James plays every instrument featured on the album with the exception of drums and strings, embodying a do-it-yourself ideology that is rare in the music industry today.

James’ trademark muted falsetto and love of reverb dominates the album’s tracks, particularly on “State of the Art A.E.I.O.U.” and “A New Life.” The tone of the album noticeably adds a brighter, less weary sound to several tracks, mirroring the change of heart demonstrated by the character in Ward’s novel.

Featuring a variety of instruments ranging from harp to saxophone to what might be an electric organ, “Regions” is full of intricately orchestrated details that are sure to please listeners. While James’ lyrics are hardly intelligible, it quickly becomes clear that the words are not as important as the way he sings them or the manner in which they blend with the accompanying vocals and instrumentals for a thoroughly funky effect.

Overall, “Regions of Light and Sound of God” proves that James’ solo career is off to a solid start, though one might wonder if he’d be happier simply herding sheep in the countryside than touring the country.

Alexandria Ethridge is music editor. Email her at aethridge@nyunews.com.


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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