“It reminded me what the magic was”: My Morning Jacket on their triumphant return that almost never happened
My Morning Jacket’s Jim James on their six-year hiatus, getting back in the saddle, playing guitar like it’s a Ouija board, and why they love the smell of burning amps in the morning.
Portraits: Austin Nelson
Both guitarists remember the moment as if it were yesterday, the connection so innate and immediate it felt as if fate had drawn them together. It was 2004, and My Morning Jacket were on the brink of dissolving after the departures of keyboardist Danny Cash and guitar player Johnny Quaid. Bandleader Jim James began the search for a new guitarist, but no one felt right – until Carl Broemel walked into the room. “It was so funny,” James recalls. “Everyone else that came to the audition, there was no way in hell it would work, but Carl was absolutely perfect. It was divine intervention.”
- READ MORE: “The statement of the record was, ‘I don’t give a fuck!’”: Samantha Fish embraces rock ‘n’ roll on new album Faster
For Broemel, a classically trained player raised in Indiana, the story began months earlier. After a decade spent with bands that “got record deals, fell apart and ran their course”, he found himself in Los Angeles “playing in a band to make money. It wasn’t really a heart and soul-filling thing.” One night, driving through the City Of Angels, listening to KCRW, he heard a song that brought tears to his eyes. “It was what I now know is I Will Sing You Songs