The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 08 Music Live Shots


Reviewed by Doug Freeman, March 21, 2008, Music

Jacob Golden, M. Ward, Jim James

St. David's Church, Saturday, March 15

"We'd like to thank God for letting us use his house," offered Jim James sincerely, supported by the gorgeous acoustic arrangements of My Morning Jacket's most gospel-inflected material. Jacob Golden opened, delivering the hushed tremble from his sophomore effort, Revenge Songs. Eyes shut, head shaking and tucked into his shoulder, Golden worked the soft whispers of "On a Saturday" and Bright Eyes-like lyrical roll of "Bluebird" into dramatic crescendos that were somewhat tedious in their predictability but nonetheless impressive in delivery. The Portland, Ore., singer-songwriter's rough balance of regret and hope in closer "Zero Integrity" and searching quiver of "I'm You're Man" shook quietly confident as the roar outside the church rolled like muffled thunder complementing Golden's tempestuous vocal swells. M. Ward's dusky voice drawled in juxtaposition, "Sad, Sad Song" drifting into a poignant cover of Don Gibson's country gem "Oh, Lonesome Me." James added twang to "Chinese Translation," the pair's acoustic guitars melting into MMJ's stunning "Golden," its pedal steel lapping languorous as the set shifted to James. "What a Wonderful Man" and new songs from MMJ's upcoming Evil Urges shrouded a Southern gospel flair, even taking advantage of the church's pipe organ, for an intimate crowd held stunningly still.

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