Jim James harnesses the gentle aura of butterflies in his poignant "Here in Spirit" video. The singer soaks in the stillness of a forest as strangers embrace on a busy sidewalk – with butterflies guiding their random acts of kindness. At one point, a white cop hugs and encourages a young black man, who hoists up a "Black Lives Matter" sign.
"So much confusion in the world right now ... so much pain and chaos," James said in a statement of the Andy Hines-directed video. "In times like these, it's easy to get angry and direct our sadness into the empty space-time false reality vacuum of the internet. But we have to try and stay positive and continue to work and speak out for peace and love and equality - in the real world ... right now. We need to reach out to those we disagree with and find common ground. We must fight the divide and conquer techniques that are working so well to hold us back from universal love.
"That is part of what inspired moments in this video – hopeful snapshots of what that world could look like if we chose love and understanding over fear and hatred. No one can afford to stay silent. We need every vote. We need every voice. All of us need to speak out now louder than ever before in an effort to bring about lasting peace and love. Much respect to all those working so hard for peace and love right now. The world so badly needs and is grateful for your work. Thanks for listening."
The chiming "Here in Spirit" highlights James' second solo LP, Eternally Even, which he released this month. The My Morning Jacket frontman told Rolling Stone he started work on "Spirit" after learning about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and "feeling devastated by that and all the violence that's been going on."
"That song just popped out one day while I was … thinking about that stuff – how important it is that we all speak out for love, for equality and fairness because there's so much hatred getting so much air time these days," he said. "There's so much chaos and trouble in the world right now, and we need to broadcast as much peace and love, too."
James kicked off a solo tour this week with a pair of Boston shows. The trek continues Friday, November 18th in Philadelphia and concludes December 18th in Birmingham, Alabama.