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

Jim James on 'Fallon'

“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.