Austin City Limits Festival
My Morning Jacket
September 18, 2004
BY JASON SONGE
Sometimes I feel Europeans have better musical taste than Americans. My Morning Jacket has been a hit in Holland since they released their debut album in 1999. Back here in New Orleans, where we’re naturally behind everyone else, I just started to hear a buzz about the rock quintet from Louisville, KY. And since buzz doesn’t mean much, I approached My Morning Jacket’s Saturday afternoon performance at the Austin City Limits Festival expecting to find new indie-rock darlings. What I found was a band that sounded talented enough to foster a thirty-year career and possibly set the next benchmark for American rock music. I was so impressed with their songwriting and their full sound.
The band had a crunchy twang under each of their songs. Add to that songwriter/vocalist Jim James’ country drawl, and I thought alt/country. But, that was just the beginning. Stack on that beautiful meandering melodies, intense reverb, psychedelic leanings, and Stax-like horn progressions. Top it off with a happy-day piano and candy-coated harmonies. Now, wrap it up and title it “Your Sons.” Send it to The Beach Boys and Neil Young. It’s creepy how James sounded just like Young AND Brian Wilson. Chills.
These guys played rockin’ Americana that kicked major ass at times. On the other side, the melodies sounded like they were influenced by everything from doo-wop to nursery rhymes. I’d love to see James’ record collection. The guys put on a passionate show. I can only hope America recognizes their sons.