Storytelling goes beyond words and the audio experience, and for his first solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James found inspiration from God’s Man, a wordless 1929 woodcut novel by Lynd Ward that helped lay the groundwork for graphic novels. On the song “A New Life,” James connects with the book’s protagonist, who suffers a fall from a cliff. That event drew parallels with James’ fall offstage in 2008.
“There’s a scene [in God’s Man] where the main character’s like chased out of town and he falls off a cliff and is lost and kind of injured and this woman finds him and nurses him back to health and they fall in love,” James tells Rolling Stone. “And they have a child together and they have this new life that’s kind of coming. That had happened to me. Like, I had fallen offstage and gotten injured and gotten super dark and fell in love and all that was happening at the same time I was loving this book. It was like I had this beautiful illustration of what was happening in my life.”
There’s a more universal theme at work in the song, too. “It’s about making a conscious choice to open a new door for oneself,” he says. “To step forward out of safe stagnation or fear and into beauty or peace or whatever you would like to call truth in your heart in order to begin a new life in and of love.”
Regions of Light and Sound of God is out February 5th.
Additional reporting by Patrick Doyle