Kathleen Edwards and My Morning Jacket

By Jason Wojciechowski on October 19, 2005 at 8:53 PM

A teacher friend and I went to see Kathleen Edwards (official site) and My Morning Jacket (official site) at Webster Hall (official site) last night. I'm especially incompetent to write anything approaching a "review" of the show, so consider this a bunch of highly personal observations.

First, Kathleen Edwards is awesome! I've gleaned from her website and from some of the things she did on stage that Edwards is in a relationship with her guitarist and producer, Colin Cripps (FirstAct Guitars), which will depress any potential groupies who were in the crowd. Cripps, though, was really good, and his guitar work was featured in a way that I didn't realize from listening to Failer (Village Voice review), Edwards's first album.

Edwards played about eight songs, three of which I recognized from Failer. I assume the other five were from her more recent album, Back to Me (MetaCritic reviews), which I (obviously) don't have yet, but which has now vaulted to the top of my wish list.

My Morning Jacket, on the other hand, disappointed me a little bit. I've listened to their breakthrough album, It Still Moves (MetaCritic reviews), a number of times, and Austen has an earlier song of theirs (Evelyn is Not Real (lyrics)) on a southern-music compilation (Oxford American Magazine). Their songs tend to be long on instrument, short on lyric, and seemed like they would lend themselves well to live jams. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Sure, the songs on stage were long, but they're long on the album, too. It was too bad that they didn't make more of an attempt to cut it loose up there.

Also, the band really seemed to be a little bit self-consciously "rock star"-like, and not in a particularly fun way. The only smile I saw from any of the band members came from keyboardist Bo Koster is the second song of their encore. Well, drummer Patrick Hallahan, who looks remarkably like Cousin It, also seemed to be having a lot of fun. But guitarist Carl Broemel (Musical Family Tree), bassist Two Tone Tommy (Interview at a blog) (at least he's got a good name), and, especially, frontman Jim James (XPress Mag) seemed over-serious, far too often striking "rock star" poses and doing that "deep concentration" thing that I guess serious musicians are supposed to do. You want to tell them, "It's just music! You're up there to make us shake our booties!"

This, it should be noted, didn't detract from the music. The songs they played from It Still Moves were as good as they are on the album, and the band does have an interesting (and fairly unclassifiable) sound that makes me want to hear more, particularly from Z (Pitchfork review), the album they're supporting with this tour.

The highlights of the night were probably, in this order, Kathleen Edwards's entire set and then My Morning Jacket playing Mahgeetah (Last.fm), my favorite song from It Still Moves, in their encore.

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