Do not underestimate My Morning Jacket. Like the Byrds or Lone Justice, they are an act that defies easy classification, providing a perfect gateway for fans of one genre into the joys of another. Such is their draw that folks who would never have considered attending the Bonnaroo Festival, for fear of asphyxiating on patchouli fumes, made the journey this year because MMJ performed.
The show preserved on this live, five-track EP got to hear the Kentucky quintet in more intimate surroundings: a private party held in Braintree, Massachusetts, last Halloween. Acoustic Citsuoca offers charms for both die-hards and newcomers. The latter will appreciate the succinct career overview the program provides, touching on four key releases, including It Still Moves (2003), At Dawn (2001) and The Tennessee Fire (1999). The former may grumble about the absence of new material, only to shut up when they savor the ringing, reverb-laden guitar on “Sooner” (from the Chocolate & Ice EP), and realize that this is the last MMJ offering to feature original members guitarist Johnny Quaid and keyboard player Danny Cash, both of whom resigned amicably earlier this year.
No matter. Feeling melancholy while listening to such honest performances is nigh impossible; band leader Jim James’ plaintive upper register is in especially fine form, as he leans into turns of phrase such as, “Talk is often cheap/And filled with air” (“Golden”). When he floats into falsetto on “Hopefully”, the crowd goes nuts.
In fact, audience noise is audible, but not intrusive, throughout the disc. When one gentlemen hollers, “You kick ass!” in between numbers, only a curmudgeon could resist uttering an amen.