By Ian Bremner
As wavy, loud, intricate, or funky as Jim James can get, many of the showstoppers James is responsible for come in the form of the slow ballad, or a classic cover tune. From the sonic exploration of My Morning Jacket’s entire catalog, to the band’s front man Jim James’ wizardry solo efforts, sometimes, all you need is a singer and their voice.
In 2009, Jim James released Tribute To, a collection of mellow acoustic cover songs to pay respects to a hero of his, George Harrison. The new record, Tribute To 2 is another beautifully selected compilation of covers. On it, James is paying homage to the classic pop writers before him, while showing a glimpse of where he finds inspiration. The artists he selects to tribute are telling. Where you may not think you need to hear another version from anything off the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, when paired with the arrangements from Isaac Hayes’ By The Time I Get To Pheonix, you realize there are always new ways to interpret art. It even allows you to re-appreciate the songwriting skills of Willie Nelson’s Funny How Time Slips Away.
Jim James proves he is equally at home wielding an axe for a wild MMJ guitar solo or delicately harmonizing with himself over some old timey piano.
Tribute To 2 via spotify
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (Beach Boys)
The World Is Falling Down (Abbey Lincoln)