Jim James

Regions of Light And Sound of God (Deluxe Reissue)
Uniform Clarity
Uniform Distortion
Tribute To (Reissue)
Tribute To 2
Regions of Light and Sound of God
Yim Yames : Tribute To

Over the course of a decades-long and infinitely surprising career, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has created the kind of mind-expanding music that transports the listener into liminal spaces: the intangible terrain between reality and dream, perception and imagination, the sensory world and the supermundane. On his 2013 debut solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God—a critically lauded release now reissued as a deluxe edition with 12 never-before-heard songs—the Kentucky-bred singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist stepped further into unknown and otherworldly territory, a journey informed by a devastating accident that radically altered his mindset. “I thought I might not recover and that my life would be over,” says James of the 2008 incident that left him with traumatic injuries. “I was thinking about death a lot, but then love came into my life and saved me. I learned to live again in a new way, in the moment and beyond fear. Many of these songs started in that period between life and death—it was a big page-turn for me.”

While Regions of Light and Sound of God explores some heady existential questions (the impermanence of life, the search for self-transcendence), each song reveals James’s immense capacity for wonder and rare gift for awakening a euphoric sense of curiosity in his audience. Self-produced and recorded at his Louisville home—with James handling every instrument except for strings and drums—the album encompasses a dizzying expanse of sounds, drifting from art-pop to cosmic folk to time-bending R&B with a warm and restless elegance. A fitting introduction to its spirited eclecticism, the album-opening “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” offers up a stark yet hypnotic, piano-led meditation on technology’s impact on the way we experience the world, an inquiry that’s only become more relevant over the past decade. “That song seems to hold its place well as time rages on and technology continues to shape our lives and the world we live in,” he says. “It’s a constant battle for me—I know how it can enhance our lives, but in so many ways it distracts from what’s important and real. I’m always thinking about how I can treat it like a Swiss Army knife: use it when I need it, but then put it away rather than letting it control me and completely take over my consciousness.”

Along with demos and alternate versions of the album’s original tracklist, the reissue for Regions of Light and Sound of God includes previously unheard songs like the sorrowful yet shimmering “Read Between (Begin Again).” With its incandescent textures and celestial vocal work, “Read Between” bears all the soulful exultation of a hymn, even as James reflects on a complex and troubling experience in his then-recent past. “I wrote ‘Read Between’ about my great aunt who was suffering from dementia at the time,” he says. “It made me question the nature of the soul, and what exactly it is that truly makes a person who they are. It was wild to watch that notion of the soul slip away in someone, and wonder if one day it will slip away for me in a similar way.”

Hailed by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke as “an eccentric, gently compelling pleasure: George Harrison’s Seventies classic-rock spiritualism reborn in the laptop age,” Regions of Light and Sound of God set the tone for a solo career that’s continually led James into unexpected directions, such as 2018’s Uniform Distortion (an album inspired by the philosophies of ’60s/’70s counterculture magazine The Last Whole Earth Catalog) and 2019’s The Order Of Nature (a collaboration with composer/conductor Teddy Abrams of the Louisville Orchestra). Referring to music as “true magic, the invisible architecture that holds us all up,” James now regards his solo debut as an indelible turning point in “learning to create situations where I can disappear fully and get into the zone where spirit and music take over”—a capability that’s proven perpetually rewarding over the years. “One of the many gifts of music is that each day it gives me a chance to begin again,” says James. “Whatever project I’m working on at the moment consumes my heart and takes me into a place where time and space shift, and there’s endless possibility to start anew.”