The Playlist Special: Top Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10

Jim James: The Band

The Band were a profound influence on My Morning Jacket, says frontman James: "We always looked up to them. It's so rare to find a group that followed their impulses and didn't give a fuck about the trends of the day. That really speaks to me."







Listen: Jim James' Top Songs by the Band

  • 1.
    "It Makes No Difference" | The Band, 1978

    I'll never forget seeing Rick Danko sing this in The Last Waltz. He could be a goofball and a heartbreaker, sometimes at once.

  • 2.
    "Up On Cripple Creek" | The Band, 1969

    Superfunky; you can tell they had a deep love for soul, funk, every kind of music.

  • 3.
    "The Unfaithful Servant" | The Band, 1969

    Another of my favorite Danko songs. When I'm in Woodstock, I visit his grave to pay my respects to his massive spirit.

  • 4.
    "Whispering Pines" | The Band, 1969

    This is filled with such pain, but it contains that tint of hope.

  • 5.
    "Yazoo Street Scandal ('Basement Tapes' Version)" | The Band, 1975

    Psychedelic funk, with Levon Helm just crushing it. The recording is fucking nasty: dark and dirty, and his voice sounds so fucked up.

  • 6.
    "Don't Ya Tell Henry ('Basement Tapes' version)" | The Band, 1975

    I saw Levon do this not long ago, and he still had the energy and spirit of a young child.

  • 7.
    "Tears Of Rage" | The Band, 1968

    Richard Manuel's vocal here is one of the greatest ever captured. There's something about this that's so pure.

  • 8.
    "Don't Do It ('The Last Waltz' version)" | The Band, 1978

    The original is by Marvin Gaye, who's maybe my biggest singing influence, and they give it just as much power as his version, if not more.

  • 9.
    "I Shall Be Released" | The Band, 1968

    One of the most important songs ever written, by Dylan or anyone else. I see this version almost like I see Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" – like Dylan wrote it just for Manuel to sing.

  • 10.
    "The Weight" | The Band, 1968

    Back when My Morning Jacket formed, this was one of the first songs we tried, because the harmonies are so great and stacked in such a cool way. But we couldn't do it, couldn't nail 'em. We sang this one with Levon at his house recently, which is pretty fucking crazy.