MMJ’s Jim James joins Floating Action onstage

Photo by Christy Rhodes

Last week, on the heels of a trip to Forecastle Music festival with Floating Action, I reported the latest in an ongoing string of high-profile shout out’s for the local surf/soul/rock outfit. It came in the form of a psyched-out remix — and glowing review — by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James (who’s set to co-release the band’s new record on his Removador imprint). Naturally, Xpress was thrilled (although not all that surprised) to see a nationally-acclaimed, arena-filling rocker like James sharing love for one of our favorite local songwriters.

Over the weekend it got even better. It seems that James can’t get enough of our hometown favorites. During Floating Action’s Sunday evening set, the Louisville native and Saturday Forecastle headliner rushed onto stage and sang backing vocals with Kauffman and Co. during “Rincon,” a track from last year’s Desert Etiquette, which James described as “a relatively unknown masterwork of our times” in the previously mentioned review. 

Photo by Ben Herring

But it was more than a quick cameo. James stuck around sidestage for the remainder of the show, chatting with members of The Fruit Bats — who performed with Floating Action at Emerald Lounge on Friday — and Athens’ Futurebirds, all of whom were visibly impressed by the set. Then, during the closing moments of the show, James returned, his head wrapped in Seth Kauffman’s scarf, to read a passage from Dennis Rodman’s biography Bad As I Wanna Be. Weird? Absolutely. Hilarious? Yes. Confusing? Most definitely. But undeniably characteristic of Kauffman’s sometimes off-the-wall style. 

Photo by Ben Herring

Not surprisingly, the band got a lot of love and praise from their fellow musicians after the show, even visiting James at his house the following morning. Shortly after the set, Fruit Bats’ Eric Johnson told me that Floating Action was a relatively new discovery for him, but added, “I want to do everything I possibly can to help these guys.”

I guess he’d better get in line.


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