Release Date: Aug 4, 2009
Record label: ATO
George Harrison may not have influenced My Morning Jacket's knotty, psychedelic Americana as much as other songwriters, but his spirituality did find its way into the band's work, from the catharsis of At Dawn to the Biblical metaphors in "Gideon. " Appropriately, Jim James makes his solo debut with a collection of Harrison songs, using little more than his vocals and acoustic guitar to re-create the source material. This is a quiet, scaled-down affair, with no traces of Phil Spector's lush orchestrations or Harrison's infamous slide guitar.
Working under a barely there pseudonym, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James recorded this six-track EP of George Harrison covers shortly after the Beatle’s death in 2001. Tribute To actually sounds even older than that: In stripped-down readings of ”Long, Long, Long” and ”Love You To,” James floats his ?high-pitched vocals in a ghostly wash of reverb, while his folky acoustic strumming summons a mellow faded-photo vibe. James mostly resists tinkering with Harrison’s melodies, which keeps surprise at bay.
My Morning Jacket singer adopts silly pseudonym, lionizes George Harrison moved My Morning Jacket singer Jim James that he recorded six solo covers with just himself, an acoustic guitar, and enough reverb to trap the ghost of the Quiet One for a few measures. In 2009, James got around the releasing the recordings as an EP, Tribute Toit in mountain psychedelica that predicts the rise of Fleet Foxes. The casualness of the performances suggests an attempt to capture the spirit of grief and gratitude while it was still fresh.
It adds a subtle hint of pertinence for your first solo effort to be a collection of covers of songs by a man whose band first started the trend for side projects. Here Jim James of My Morning Jacket becomes Yim Yames to present Tribute To, an interpretation of six George Harrison songs (two penned as a Beatle) that he recorded just a few days after Harrison passed away in 2001. It’s a slight but nonetheless striking collection that James has said he wanted ‘to exist as a version of me back then, a person who is in love with George Harrison's music’.
When ex-Beatle George Harrison died in 2001, My Morning Jacket's Jim James was so moved that he recorded these stripped down versions of classic Harrison songs just days after the songwriter's passing. To say these versions, credited to Yim Yames, are mournful is an understatement. "Love You To," one of Harrison's contributions to Revolver, substitutes the original's jaunty sitar for a sadly plucked banjo.
Ronnie, Duane, and heck, even Waylon; those are the hat-tips you'd expect from the lead singer and songwriter of widescreen country rockers My Morning Jacket. George Harrison, however? Hard to imagine he'd be anybody's first pick. He probably wasn't James', either, but in the days following Harrison's late 2001 death, James, his guitar, a reel-to-reel, and precious little else got together to pay, well, Tribute To the quiet Beatle.