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Jim James and the Roots Start ‘A New Life’ and Help It Grow on ‘Fallon’

'Regions of Light and Sound of God' is out today on ATO

picture-18576-1373300776Marc Hogan // February 5, 2013

“All I’ve really done solo before is play guitar and sing,” Jim James said of live performances recently in an interview with SPIN’s David Marchese. “I want a different experience.” James delivered one last night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

“A New Life,” a ’50s-bopping standout from the leonine My Morning Jacket frontman’s first solo album under his own nameRegions of Light and Sound of God (out today on ATO), blossoms and grows like a new life of its own; the performance begins with James singing solo, then gradually swells until it culminates with help from the Roots, an orchestra, and marching-band percussion.

James could probably go on playing forever with MMJ, one of the current era’s quintessential festival bands, but this performance shows he can indeed start a whole other new life as a solo artist, simultaneously intimate and all-encompassing. And he doesn’t even play guitar here.