As the vocalist, frontman, producer and lead songwriter for My Morning Jacket, James has been instrumental in defining the sound of the band, from the haunting reverb of The Tennessee Fire to the amalgam of reggae, Americana, and folk that was the Z, which he co-produced with John Leckie. He was given an “Esky” for best songwriter in Esquire’s 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue. James typically plays rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, and occasional lead guitar on My Morning Jacket songs. He played the role of the band leader in the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, singing the song “Going to Acapulco”, with Calexico as his backing band, which was featured on the soundtrack of the film. Rolling Stone listed James among their “20 New Guitar Gods” along with fellow My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel. In 2008, James, along with former My Morning Jacket guitarist and cousin Johnny Quaid, formed Removador Recordings and Solutions record label. The label, as described on its website, functions “on the simple principal of yielding the highest annual percentage of aural joy back into the hearts and minds of investors and shareholders with ease and convenience”.He contributed vocals on The Decemberists’ 2009 album The Hazards of Love.
On July 7, 2009, James released an EP covering George Harrison songs, entitled Tribute To. A portion of the proceeds from the album will go to benefit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The EP is available on yimyames.com as both a digital download and a physical CD/LP.
Jim James and the rest of My Morning Jacket played themselves in an episode of American Dad! entitled “My Morning Straitjacket”.
In 2012, Rounder Records released the Woody Guthrie tribute album New Multitudes which features songs covered by a variety of musicians including James (as Yim Yames) and Jay Farrar. James wrote an article on My Morning Jacket, discussing how the band got its name and growing up in Louisville, for the July 2012 issue of Louisville Magazine. Bandmates Patrick Hallahan and Tom Blankenship also wrote articles for the issue.
Jim James released his debut solo full length album, “Regions of Light and Sound of God” on ATO Records on February 5, 2013. (Read additional bio information, discography, etc here).