My Morning Jacket has begun work on their seventh album and Jim James has no idea what it will sound like.
“With My Morning Jacket we don’t put limits on anything,” MMJ leader James told a small crowd gathered at Apogee Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., for a KCRW concert. “(Producer) Joe Chiccarelli gave me great advice: Don’t make demos anymore.”
The upshot, James contends, is that anything they record has the chance of being used in a song.
James performed his solo album, “Regions of Light and Sound of God,” in order – save for the cut “Exploding” – for broadcast on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on Sept. 26. The set included one MMJ tune, “Wonderful,” which segued into a slow take on Rodgers and Hart’s “Blue Moon” modeled on Elvis Presley’s version. He also performed “Changing World,” from the Woody Guthrie tribute project “New Multitudes.”
At several points during the concert, James played the tenor saxophone, an instrument he became obsessed with during the recording of “Regions of Light and Sound of God.” Inspired by Lynd Ward’s book from the late 1920s, “Gods’ Man,” James found he gravitated to 1920s recordings of saxophones, in particular the recordings of Duke Ellington.
“I loved being the studio building scores, building soundscapes,” he said.