Jim James, "Eternally Even" (ATO/Capitol)
My Morning Jacket's Jim James takes a melancholy turn on "Eternally Even," a dreamy if somber overview of some of life's pressures and challenges.
The focus of James' attention is clear from the opening track "Hide In Plain Sight," companionship and camaraderie acting as small-scale but effective balms to the meanness in this world.
Considering there are five drummers, including the legendary Jim Keltner, credited on "Same Old Lie," the song is a model of restraint, its Rock the Vote mentality summed up by the wisdom of "Nothing is more difficult than changing what's been comfortable."
Written in the aftermath of the killings in Pulse nightclub in Florida, "Here In Spirit" has a hopeful outlook — "Whatever it takes, we're gonna build it back" — with a vocal turn from James reminiscent of Talk Talk's subdued drama.
Famed New Orleans saxophonist Charlie Gabriel's contributions insert some spice into "True Nature" and "In the Moment" as James exposes more of his preoccupations, including future generations and stability among the chaos.
All the struggles seem to reach their conclusion on the album-ending title track, as James explains that "life's been completely fair" to him while wishing the same to the song's recipient. So even if the ride was bumpy, it was worth it.