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My Morning Jacket

iTunes Live from Las Vegas at the Palms

(iTunes; US: 13 Jan 2009; UK: 13 Jan 2009)

Fans already know that My Morning Jacket is one of those rare bands with the imagination and collective self-esteem to create new personas to fit a particular occasion, usually accompanied by a theatrical flair that completes the sale.  It’s fitting, then, that iTunes Live from Las Vegas at the Palms, a six-song EP available only via iTunes, finds Jim James and associates reinventing themselves somewhere between Quiet Storm soul balladeers and a cummerbund-rocking wedding band.


The session’s overall vibe falls very close to the mellow middle section of Evil Urges, complete with inventive reworkings of older songs like “Knot Comes Loose”—which gains a gorgeous piano and pedal steel coda—and the relatively rare “Tonight I Want to Celebrate With You”.  “From Nashville to Kentucky” also receives the makeover treatment, featuring a Carl Broemel saxophone solo in an arrangement similar to the one played on the band’s 2008 tour.


Serious MMJ devotees will probably be most interested in the EP for its one new song, “Dear Wife”.  Although there’s little revelatory about it per se, it’s a pleasant enough love song that fits right in with the session’s candlelit vibe.  So with a word of caution to those who prefer the band’s jammier side, iTunes Live from Las Vegas at the Palms comes highly recommended—especially as the soundtrack for a late-night bottle of wine with the one you adore.

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