My Morning Jacket leader Jim James has always maintained a healthy side-project life, whether it’s with Monsters Of Folk or with his own various solo endeavors. And on a new album, James joins a different sort of band. Last week, James released The Order Of Nature, an album that he made in collaboration with the Louisville Orchestra and with conductor Teddy Abrams. And last night, James, Abrams, and members of the Orchestra were the musical guests on The Tonight Show.
On The Order Of Nature, James isn’t singing Southern-fried, arena-ready indie rock, and he’s not singing opera, either, though god knows that’d be interesting. Instead, the album works as a sort of experiment in old-school standards, even though the songs themselves are new. On The Tonight Show, he sang “Back To The End Of The World.” Abrams says that the song quotes Ravel’s Bolero, but I also hear a little “Blue Moon” in there.
It’s fascinating hearing James show off his golden voice in this entirely different (and honestly pretty unforgiving context). Abrams plays both piano and clarinet. Everyone involved had to leave their respective comfort zones on this one, and you can see the results below.
The Order Of Nature is out now on Decca Gold.