With My Morning Jacket on a semi-hiatus, frontman Jim James released two solo albums of the same material last year: Uniform Distortion, the electric rock version, and Uniform Clarity, an acoustic take. “It’s fun to play differently,” says James, who toured behind Clarity last year.
While James is mostly on the road solo this year, My Morning Jacket will play three shows this summer before getting together in the fall to work on new material, he says.
“Sometimes you just gotta step back and take a break for a while,” says James, who adds that the band recently finished a companion album to 2015’s The Waterfall and has a live record in the can. “Everybody likes to hypothesize and guess and wonder, but sometimes it’s nice to just disappear for a while.”
Now touring behind Distortion, James shared three songs that popped into his head:
“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash
James calls this a “supermarket song.” “You hear them at the grocery when you’re a kid,” he says. “I don’t even like the recording that much, but I just love the song. It’s a beautiful sentiment.”
“Tell the Child (About God)” by The Consolers
James has a long-running record night with friends in Louisville, Kentucky, which is where he recently heard this gospel song. “They sing so passionately and so amazingly,” he says. “That guy almost sounds like Bruce Springsteen.”
“I Told Jesus” by Roberta Flack
“I’m tired of hearing people sing about love [or] heartbreak [or] falling in love,” James says. “I just want to hear somebody sing about God, but I also don’t care about God. But to hear somebody passionately sing about Jesus, to me, is really beautiful.”