Courtesy of Rolling Stone
Frontman Jim James (or Yim Yames, depending) has become an iconic figure in music today and, with a scruffy beard and a set of pipes fit for a choir of angels, is revered by fans and fellow musicians alike. He (and the rest of the band) was even recently animated and featured in a November episode of "American Dad." James was the bromance of the main character in the show.
It took me a while to be bitten by the MMJ "bug." I saw them open for Pearl Jam in 2006 in Albany. I had been listening to their 2005 release, "Z," for a while and had been passing it around to friends. The band had a huge sound live and surpassed all expectations.
I was surprised when someone told me they began as a country band. In fact, I thought it was bullshit. So, I did some research and saw they're debut album was entitled "The Tennesee Fire." I wasn't sure what to expect. After listening to the brilliant mellowdramatic melodies on Z, a country album would have turned me off. Well, it turns out whoever told me that couldn't have been more wrong. Tennessee Fire is an album that captures the raw intensity of the band, and, while the song "From Nashville to Kentucky" has a little twang in it, was everything I hoped it was. It has some real gems on it, in fact. No Alan Jackson here ...
"Z" wound up on many "top 10 records of the decade" lists and the band's 2008 release "Evil Urges" continues to blow minds.
I saw a cool link on RollingStone.com this morning. It is a compilation of the cover songs MMJ has done over the years. The band is very liberal with its taping policy, so there are many live records floating around.
The fan site is called, You Ain't No Picasso.
Check out some of the covers, ranging from Dylan to Danzig, Lionel Richie to Kool and the Gang. "Don't Fear The Reaper w/ Wilco" is pretty core.