My Morning Jacket returns to the Uptown, touring on its latest, Circuital. It's a fine enough record, drawing on the rock, funk, soul and country sounds that MMJ has explored on previous releases, but it doesn't — nothing could — capture the rapturous experience of its high-energy live sets. We checked in with guitarist Carl Broemel last week from his home in Nashville.
The Pitch: How's the summer going? Lots of festivals?
Broemel: We're taking a 10-day break right now, but it's been fantastic so far. We did Bonnaroo, some other festivals, a theater tour in the U.S. and Canada, shows in London.
What kind of upgrades do you get when you're as big of a touring act as you guys have become? Better food? Fancier hotels?
Yeah, like 3 inches of leg room on the flight? (Laughs.) Yeah, there's some extra little creature comforts these days. We're all adult men, so it's nice to have our own hotel room now and then, instead of having to bunk up like we used to. Our main goal on tour is to maintain a good energy level and not get burned out. So, you know, having clean clothing in our hotel room is a good way to do that.
Have you met anybody cool lately out on tour?
Erykah Badu sang with us at our record-release show in Louisville. We met her in Dallas a few years back when she came to one of our gigs. She's a kindred spirit — she really saves her energy for her performances. Plus, she's also really into funk music. And I like her spirituality. She's just a pretty awesome lady.
From your lyrics and other interviews I've read, spirituality seems like a more central theme in the band's work lately. Is that accurate?
Well, I think that a lot of artists become more aware of having a spiritual journey of some kind because they have the experience where their music or paintings or whatever come from a place that they can't quite explain. So you become open to the possibility of other energy sources that you maybe can't be fully aware of.
How are the crowds responding to the Circuital songs live?
Out of the last three records I've been a part of with the band, this one seems to be resonating quicker with the crowds. It's really satisfying to have people obviously into our fresher material, as opposed to the old classics. But we're also playing some of the older songs better or more powerfully now because we're more familiar with them. We can play them with more force.
Rolling Stone named you a Top 20 Guitar God or something a few years back. What kind of ax are you slinging these days?
I usually play Gibsons. I have a couple Les Pauls. My new favorite is a Duesenberg, which is a German guitar. It's the only thing I ever want to play other than a Gibson.
Do you remember anything from your last visit to Kansas City?
I remember we walked around and did some vintage-clothes shopping and some record shopping. I bought this big ridiculous gray jumpsuit. Like what Mr. Furley would wear in Three's Company.