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Customer Review

on 3 March 2003
Along with "At Dawn", "The Tennessee Fire" was the second of two My Morning Jacket albums released in 2002 on the Darla label. Now they're both out here in the UK on Witchita, and although this one is not altogether unlike "At Dawn", different it certainly is.
The obvious Neil Young/Lynard Skynard reference points remain, and Jim James' vocals are as heartfelt and splintered as always. This time, though, some of their more leftfield influences come out to the fore. Now, you can just about imagine Nina Simone and Etta James blaring out across the farm where My Morning Jacket used to rehearse.
Pleasingly lo-fi, sounding altogether rougher, rustic and a lot more country than their other album, this is a record stripped in every way imaginable of unnecessary polish. The result is the raw sound of an extremely accomplished, creative band and the untainted interpretations of some quite extraordinary songs. “I Will Be There When You Die” is a melancholic but deceptively bleak acoustic number with a dark twist of humour; “The Dark” almost twinkles its way through the Kentucky night sky before morphing into a peculiar, pastoral amalgam of Talking Heads and the Kinks; and at the risk of making a lazy comparison, “Heartbreakin’ Man”, to my mind, conjured up images of the Beatles with Robert Johnson instead of Paul McCartney.
We’d better be clear: this is not recommended for anyone for whom being tarred and feathered on Tooting Bec Common is infinitely preferable to listening to sixty minutes worth of country songs. However for the rest of us, we have an ideal album with which to kick back, relax and enjoy some prime-cut, dextrous, almost ethereal music.
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