My Morning Jacket
If the contrapuntal Al Green-meets-Skynyrd soul-groove of My Morning Jacket's 2005 heavy-hitter Z didn't convince you MMJ was breaking into the mainstream side of the music biz, the band's inside-joke cameo appearance performing "Free Bird" in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown should have. Either way, MMJ disciples will no doubt fall on their knees at the altar of Kentucky-fried soul-rock when Okonokos: Double Live Album finds its way to the eager flock of MMJ singer/guitarist Jim James' worshipers.
From the patina-pealing falsetto and head-nodding pizzicato guitar ripples of CD one's opener, "Wordless Chorus," to the capricious boogie of CD two's closer, "Mahgeeta," MMJ plays a countrified midwife to the sour mash love child of the gods of crackling riff rock and toothy-grinned soul. High points include the gyroscopic intro of "One Big Holiday" and the rightly titled "At Dawn," a short, inspirational tune with guitars that soar like first light over an ocean of reverb. On the poignant "Xmas Curtain," James and company mesh melancholy piano with dirty guitars, creating a mix as delectable as chocolate and peanut butter.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.