Jim James: Tribute to 2 review – a refreshing dip into pop's past

(ATO Records)

My Morning Jacket, the Kentucky rock band Jim James has fronted since 1998, are known for their line in eclectic cover versions, having paid homage to everything from Erykah Badu’s Tyrone to Elton John’s Rocket Man. As if to cement his dedication to the art, James’s first move as a solo artist was to release Tribute To, an EP of George Harrison covers.

It’s successor stays largely in that 60s/70s milieu, and includes a gorgeous, minimalist version of the Beach Boys’ I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times, and a bizarrely sloppy (albeit quite amusing) cover of Dylan’s I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, which James sings as though he has a mouthful of marbles. But there are curveballs too, two tracks by “Britain’s first pop star” Al Bowlly among them. On these, James retains the 30s plinky-plonk piano but replaces Bowlly’s particular croon with something a little more off the wall. It turns what can initially seem like a predictable homage to sunny and smooth 60s rock into a compelling and inventive deep dive into pop’s past.


Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jim James: Uniform Distortion review – frazzled rock and lyrical home truths
The My Morning Jacket frontman combines musical joie de vivre with some wistful yet powerful words

Dave Simpson

29, Jun, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Gimme Danger review – Jim Jarmusch plugs into Iggy Pop's raw power
This documentary portrait of a great musical maverick is a terrific, terrifying blast of unwholesome rock’n’roll excitement

Peter Bradshaw

17, Nov, 2016 @10:30 PM

Article image
My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall review – big-canvas country-rock with spellbinding moments
My Morning Jacket’s new album has a warmth that was missing from their last, and Jim James’ voice sounds spellbindingly gorgeous

Jon Dennis

30, Apr, 2015 @8:15 PM

Article image
Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes review
T Bone Burnett assembles Elvis Costello and other worthies for an album that taps into the same deep wells of Americana from which Bob Dylan’s original sprouted, writes Jon Dennis

Jon Dennis

20, Nov, 2014 @10:30 PM

Article image
Ariana Grande: Sweetener review – pop's ponytailed paragon gets weird
Her collaborations with Pharrell really push the boundaries. But they make the rest of this album seem formulaic

Alexis Petridis

17, Aug, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Little Mix: LM5 review – unlikely survivors are American dreaming | Alexis Petridis' album of the week
The squeaky-clean girl group’s odd, likable new album is aimed squarely at erasing the one blot on their copybook

Alexis Petridis

15, Nov, 2018 @12:00 PM

Article image
Bayou Maharajah review – rich tribute to James Booker
The New Orleans jazz-blues wildman is brought to life in a documentary that celebrates his musicianship as well as the colourful tales

Peter Bradshaw

07, Jul, 2016 @9:00 PM

Article image
How Hayley Kiyoko became pop's 'lesbian Jesus'
The LA singer-songwriter has gone from Disney Channel starlet to maker of sublime queer electropop. She explains how Katy Perry’s iffy-in-hindsight I Kissed A Girl helped start her journey

Alexandra Pollard

22, Feb, 2018 @2:53 PM

Article image
Ariel Pink: Dedicated to Bobby Jameson review – scattered psychedelic country tribute

Hannah J Davies

14, Sep, 2017 @9:15 PM

Article image
Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock review – tribute to a rock'n'roll snapper
Photographer Mick Rock was a friend to the stars – David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop among them – and the engaging chronicler of an era

Leslie Felperin

21, Jul, 2017 @5:00 AM