Hive Five: My Morning Jacket's R&B Influences

[caption id="attachment_4239" align="alignnone" width="630" caption="Jim James performs with My Morning Jacket in New York City, October 2010. Photo: Cory Schwartz/Getty Images"][/caption]

Over the last few years, My Morning Jacket’s drifted a bit from the southern rock thing in favor of some more funkified flavor. This week, they continue down that path with Circuital, their sixth album and arguably most consistent record to date, with a handful of funk and R&B nods to boot. A look at their recent concerts provides some clues, as we detail below.

1. Erykah Badu

My Morning Jacket sexes things up with this cover of Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone,” where they’re at their sultry best. The smoothness of Jim James’ vocals is only matched by the songstress Badu herself, who joins the band on stage and delivers one powerhouse of a slow jam.

[Listen here.]

2. Prince

Though known for epic guitar jams, MMJ shine here with a heavy dose of organ -- an essential to R&B -- on Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.”

[Listen here.]

3.  Kool & the Gang

To close out 2008, MMJ rang in the New Year at Madison Square Garden with this extended jam session on “Celebration,” complete with a kick-ass brass section, tight grooves and a dapper MMJ, dressed all in white.

[Listen here.]

4. Bobby Womack

At Bonnaroo 2008, MMJ whipped out this soulful version of Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street." James narrating the ghetto may have felt a little off but his conviction seems strong.

[Listen here.]

5. Curtis Mayfield

If you’re going to dip into the classic R&B groove, it’s best to not pass on a superfly source such as Curtis Mayfield. Over the last few years, they’ve covered Mayfield’s “Move on Up," which has a similar ring to their new tune, “Holdin’ on to Black Metal.”

[Listen here.]

Circuital is out now on ATO Records.