Jim James

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Jim James
James playing guitar
James performing in 2007
Background information
Birth nameJames Edward Olliges Jr.
Also known as
  • Jim James
  • Yim Yames
Born (1978-04-27) April 27, 1978 (age 44)
OriginLouisville, Kentucky, US
GenresPsychedelic rock, indie rock, jam rock
Occupation(s)Singer songwriter, musician, guitarist
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, omnichord, drums, percussion, harmonica, banjo
Years active1992—present
LabelsATO Records
MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
James under a spotlight onstage
James performing in August 2011

James Edward Olliges Jr. (born April 27, 1978), professionally known as Jim James or Yim Yames,[1][2] is an American vocalist, guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter of the rock band My Morning Jacket. He has also released several solo albums.

Early life[edit]

James grew up in the Highlands–Douglass neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. He attended St. Martha grade school and graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1996.[3] James briefly attended the University of Kentucky.


New Multitudes onstage bathed in red stage lights
James playing bass guitar as Yim Yames with the New Multitudes band

Prior to forming My Morning Jacket, James was the vocalist and guitarist of Month of Sundays, currently known as Mont de Sundua.[4]

As the vocalist, frontman, producer, and lead songwriter for My Morning Jacket, James has been instrumental in defining the sound of the band.[5] He was given an "Esky" for best songwriter in Esquire's 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue.

James typically plays rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, and occasional lead guitar on My Morning Jacket songs. He played the role of the band leader in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, singing the song "Going to Acapulco", with Calexico as his backing band, which was featured on the soundtrack of the film. Rolling Stone listed James among their "20 New Guitar Gods" along with fellow My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel. In 2008, James, along with former My Morning Jacket guitarist and cousin Johnny Quaid, formed Removador Recordings and Solutions record label. The label, as described on its website, functions "on the simple principal of yielding the highest annual percentage of aural joy back into the hearts and minds of investors and shareholders with ease and convenience".[6]

In 2009, he contributed vocals on The Decemberists' album The Hazards of Love.[7] On April 4 that year, James performed at the Radio City Music Hall, New York City, in the "Change Begins Within" concert benefitting the David Lynch Foundation.[8] On July 7, James released Tribute To, an EP covering George Harrison songs. A portion of the proceeds from the album were donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The EP was available on yimyames.com as both a digital download and a physical CD/LP.[9] That same year, James and the rest of My Morning Jacket played themselves in "My Morning Straitjacket", an episode of the animated television series American Dad!

In 2012, Rounder Records released the Woody Guthrie tribute album New Multitudes which features songs covered by a variety of musicians including James (as Yim Yames) and Jay Farrar. James wrote an article on My Morning Jacket,[10] discussing how the band got its name and growing up in Louisville, for the July 2012 issue of Louisville magazine. Bandmates Patrick Hallahan and Tom Blankenship also wrote articles for the issue.

James released his debut solo full-length album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, on ATO Records on February 5, 2013.

In early 2014, James recorded for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes alongside Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Rhiannon Giddens. The album was produced by T-Bone Burnett and is a compilation of partial songs written by Bob Dylan that were never released.

On November 5, 2015, the David Lynch Foundation organized another benefit concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall named "Change Begins Within" to promote transcendental meditation for stress control. Jim James participated with Katy Perry, Sting, Jerry Seinfeld, Angelique Kidjo, and classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. And since each of the performers actively practices transcendental meditation, they also spoke to its power.[11]

In 2016, James played himself and sings in two episodes of the Showtime series Roadies.[12] In November 2016, he released his second solo album Eternally Even.[13]

James and Teddy Abrams co-wrote a suite of songs that were performed with the Louisville Orchestra on April 6 and 7, 2018 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.[14] On April 17, 2018, James announced the June 29 release of his third solo album of original material, Uniform Distortion. Along with the announcement was the release of a single and music video for the album's opening track "Just A Fool". Also, included with the announcement was a letter James wrote to photographer Duane Michals requesting use of his photograph "The Illuminated Man" for the album's cover art. James discovered the photo in the 1971 publication The Last Whole Earth Catalog, which he stated was a primary inspiration for the new album.[15]

Personal life[edit]

James was raised Catholic and attended St. Martha School for grade school and St. Xavier for high school.[16] He has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since 2009.[16] He previously dated one of the singers in his solo touring band.[17]

In 2008, he fell off the stage during a concert in Iowa, which inspired the recording of his first solo album.[2] He has cited Richard Shannon Hoon, Roy Orbison, and Marvin Gaye as influences on his vocal style.[18]


See also: My Morning Jacket discography


Monsters of Folk[edit]

The New Basement Tapes[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]


  • Gibson Custom ES-335 (Dot figured-top electric guitar with gloss finish honey burst)[24] In 2021, he partnered with Gibson to release a signature guitar.[25]


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan (November 12, 2012). "My Morning Jacket's Jim James Announces Debut Solo Album, Shares New Track". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Doyle, Patrick (January 29, 2013). "Q&A: My Morning Jacket's Jim James on the Band's Next Album and His Dark Period". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Lou (October 25, 2010). "21 Questions with My Morning Jacket's Jim James". Louisville.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Mont de Sundua".
  5. ^ "Z Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "About Removador". Removador Recordings and Solutions. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Thompson, Paul (December 10, 2008). "Decemberists Reveal The Hazards of Love Date, Tracklist". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 22, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Jim James & Bettye Lavette added to David Lynch Foundation show". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  9. ^ "My Morning Jacket man to release George Harrison covers EP". NME. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "My Morning Jacket by My Morning Jacket: Jim James". Louisville. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  11. ^ Grow, Kory. "Katy Perry, Sting Stun at David Lynch's Meditation Benefit Concert - Jerry Seinfeld, Angelique Kidjo, Jim James and others also perform and explain relaxation technique's importance to them at New York's Carnegie Hall". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  12. ^ "Roadies: Roadies: On Set with Jim James | SHOWTIME". Sho.com. July 7, 2016. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Leas, Ryan (November 7, 2016). "Jim James: Eternally Even Album Review". pitchfork.com. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  14. ^ Havens, Sara. "Jim James will perform with the Louisville Orchestra in April". Insider Louisville. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  15. ^ "Jim James Decries Media Distortion In Society With New Song, Album". NPR.org. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Newman, Jason. "Jim James Q&A: How a Near-Death Experience and a 1929 Graphic Novel Saved His Life". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  17. ^ "Jim James's Midlife Whatever-It-Is". The New Yorker. October 29, 2018.
  18. ^ VH1 Storytellers, Ep. 88 "My Morning Jacket" March 6, 2011
  19. ^ "The Order of Nature - Teddy Abrams, Jim James, Louisville Orchestra". AllMusic.com.
  20. ^ "Jim James and Teddy Abrams break down their orchestral album The Order of Nature track by track: Stream". consequence.net. October 17, 2019.
  21. ^ Piccalo, Gina (November 5, 2015). "Pakistan's Sachal Jazz Ensemble rises above the risks in 'Song of Lahore'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  22. ^ "Watch Jim James Perform "Lean On Me" In Honor of Bill Withers". Jambands. April 7, 2020.
  23. ^ Schager, Nick (May 4, 2020). "Netflix Reveals Celebrities' Wildest Drug Trips, From Anthony Bourdain to Carrie Fisher". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  24. ^ "My Morning Jacket – Jim James Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment". Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  25. ^ Relix https://relix.com/news/detail/jim-james-partners-with-gibson-to-release-new-signature-guitar/

External links[edit]