It's 4 a.m. on the last night of South by Southwest, and Jim James is belting out Rod Stewart's "You're in My Heart." A few hours earlier, the My Morning Jacket frontman dazzled an intimate crowd at an Austin church with a mostly solo acoustic set, and the full band's three other performances during the week were some of the most acclaimed of the industry confab.

But of all the places James could be right now, it's a cozy terrace suite at Austin's famed Driskill Hotel, surrounded by a few close friends, a bucket of Miller Lites and an iPod, singing and analyzing songs into the wee hours. As he says the following week, "Music is everything."

That guiding principle has helped MMJ -- James, "Two-Tone" Tommy (bass), Patrick Hallahan (drums), Bo Koster (keyboards) and Carl Broemel (guitar) -- grow from humble roots in Louisville into the American rock band many feel is most likely to take it to the proverbial next level in the weeks and months to come. Like so many bands that have managed to achieve staying power in a fickle environment, MMJ has developed its touring base and recording career on separate, parallel paths.

Still, "Both are important to us," James says. "We treat them both as equals."

Click here to read more about the tremendous excitement surrounding the band's fifth album, "Evil Urges," due June 10 via ATO, the rock outfit's growing fanbase in the live space and ATO's journey into transitioning into a full-on indie label.