After releasing six studio albums as the frontman of and primary songwriter for My Morning Jacket, Jim James is finally following his musical muse into the realm of being a solo artist. His new album, Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, is as spiritual and introspective as the title suggests, but after seeing him perform the whole thing front to back last week at MTV/VH1/CMT’s Live In Austin showcase, we can confirm that it also ROCKS, too. However, just because he’s released a solo project doesn’t mean that he’s done with My Morning Jacket as a band.
“We all encourage each other to do as many different things as we can,” he told us a few minutes before his explosive SXSW set last week (see video above). “I’m kinda all over the place, and they’re used to that. We’ve got a cool love, it’s like a really beautiful open relationship or something. It’s tough to kinda make that thing work — I don’t know if I could ever make a relationship work as an open relationship, but musically, we have a beautiful open relationship.”
One of the standout tracks on Regions is lead single “A New Life,” which could be interpreted in fairly straightforward fashion as a love song or, if you’re into reading between the lines, as a statement about his new solo venture. “Yeah, i like to leave things open,” he confessed. “’A New Life’ is kinda, in a nutshell, basically about just realizing that at any point you have the power to change your life for the positive. I think we tend to get stuck and we tend to get scared, we get ourselves into a place where we’re secure, but it might be a false sense of security. I know I’ve found myself trapped there a lot, and it’s tough to get that momentum going where you can gather the courage to say ’I’m gonna step out and create a new life for myself.’ ’A New Life,’ the song, is geared more towards the relationship, romance side of it, of looking forward to starting a new life with somebody that you’ve found. It’s a happy ending, but yeah, I like to leave it open to where you don’t really know.”