Jim James Biography

Guitarist, Songwriter, Singer(1978–)
Jim James is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and founding member of the psychedelic rock band My Morning Jacket. Under the name Yim Yames, he created his first solo album, Tribute To, to honor the music of George Harrison.

Synopsis

Rock guitarist Jim James was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 27, 1978. He is the lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter for the alternative-rock band My Morning Jacket. He also pursued a solo career under the name Yim Yames. In 2008, James was seriously injured when he fell off a stage while performing in Iowa. Between 2003 and 2013, My Morning Jacket played at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, seven times.

Early Life and Influences

Jim James, lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter for the alternative-rock band My Morning Jacket, was born James Edward Olliges Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 27, 1978.

The first single James bought was "Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg. He has been a lifelong Beatles fan, with a special affinity for George Harrison's work. "When you listen to his music, you hear God," James said in a 2009 interview with Paste Magazine. James said that Michael Jackson's Thriller changed the way he thought about music. He also has an affinity to socially conscious groups.

Month of Sundays and Solo Efforts

Prior to forming My Morning Jacket, James was the vocalist and guitarist of Month of Sundays, also known as Mont de Sundua. In the early 2000s, he pursued a solo career under the name Yim Yames. He made his solo debut with 2009's Tribute To, a short collection of George Harrison covers that James recorded shortly after the Beatles lead guitarist's death in 2001.

My Morning Jacket

Since forming in 1998, Louisville, Kentucky–based My Morning Jacket has become one of America's most popular eclectic rock bands, frequently touring the country. James founded the band with his cousin, guitarist Johnny Quaid, bass player Tom Blankenship and drummer J. Glenn. The group released its debut on Darla Records in 1999, with keyboardist Danny Cash joining the following year. Their first album, The Tennessee Fire, was released in 1998, a rock 'n' roll collection with country-rock influence. It was moderately well received in the United States but became a big hit overseas. 2001's At Dawn helped the band gain popularity back home in the States.

Through the years, My Morning Jacket's music has expanded from their country and rock roots to embrace funk, reggae and psychedelic sounds. The group stayed busy touring through the early 2000s, and jumped to major record label RCA/ATO Records for the 2003 release of the critically acclaimed It Still Moves. Adding synthesizers and reggae overtones revealed the group's experimental side. After the release of 2008's Evil Urges, members of the band pursued their own projects, and James joined the indie group Monsters of Folk.

In 2008, James was seriously injured when he fell off the stage while performing in Iowa. The accident forced the band to cancel the rest of their tour, but it led to a productive time for James. While laid up, he began recording his new solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, inspired by Lynd Ward's 1929 graphic novel Gods' Man.

My Morning Jacket got back together for 2011's Circuital, recording the album in a local church's gymnasium. "That is probably my favorite My Morning Jacket record because it's really the essence of us being us," James said in a Rolling Stone interview.

Between 2003 and 2013, the band played seven times at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, a four-day event held annually in Manchester, Tennessee.

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