From the barstool of the publisher – January, 2007

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 I’m so friggin’ happy to have My Morning Jacket on the cover of The Marquee again.

I still remember the day a friend handed me a copy of The Jacket’s debut full-length release CD Tennessee Fire. I thought they were great, but a little while later when they followed up with It Still Moves, I was blown away and hooked for good.

The first time I saw them live I was shocked and the second time I saw them live it was an epic experience. I personally think that people kick around the phrases “the next big thing” and “the best band out there” way too much, but when it comes to My Morning Jacket, I don’t think it can be overstated.

Since the last time we had them on the cover (October of 2005), the band’s popularity and exposure have increased 100-fold. Their sets at last summer’s festivals (Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, to name just two) were highlights of the summer concert scene, and their recent contribution to The Band tribute album Endless Highway is superb. (That CD isn’t due out until later this month, but trust me, you’re going to freak when you hear it.)

One of the things that make My Morning Jacket so incredibly impressive is something that was discussed in last month’s CD/DVD review section as part of the review on B4MD (Before the Music Dies) — an incredible documentary that gets up close and personal with some of the music industry’s heaviest hitters about the state and the fate of the music industry.

Interviewed in that documentary is Bruce Flohr, of ATO Records (which coincidentally is My Morning Jacket’s label), who talks in length about an artist, Doyle Bramhall II, who Flohr courted when he was with RCA, but was essentially cast aside by the major label. Bramhall has gone on to be recognized by a slew of iconic musicians, including Eric Clapton, and I think it’s a true testament that there are some positive things going on in the music industry these days, despite the overriding tone that it’s all commerce over content.

It all falls on us, the music freaks, to support artists like Bramhall, like the Jacket and others. If we, as consumers, continue to purchase crap, the industry will continue to produce it, but if we buy the good stuff — the real stuff — we’re going to be better off in the long run (and probably a lot more proud of our CD collections).

We’ll see you at the shows.

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