My Morning Jacket feels like it's on unfamiliar terrain these days.
Fifteen months after the release of its latest studio album -- "Circuital," whose No. 5 Billboard 200 debut was the Lousville, Ky., rock band's best ever -- bassist Tom Blankenship notes that "we've never actually gone this far through an album cycle and still been touring. So it feels kind of weird. We've never been at this point."
But it's also inspired the group to do some creative things with its shows, he says.
For its summer tours of Europe and North America, My Morning Jacket has launched what it calls a Spontaneous Curation Series, which allows fans to help put together each show's set list, with official fan club members picking the opening songs and others helping choose the encores via Twitter.
"To the fans' credit, I think they recognized before we did that we were kind of relying on certain combinations of songs and the kind of ebb and flow of a set list," Blankenship, 34, notes. "It's been great so far. It's a huge challenge to play these songs we're not used ot making work together, but also it's great because so many of these songs are kind of forgotten. We keep putting them back in the doghouse -- 'Oh, we'll get back to playing 'Rolling Back' or whatever it is one day...'
"So it's fun finding out how much we loved the song or how we can change it and use different instrumentation and make it new for ourselves and the fans."
While it's digging into its catalog, My Morning Jacket has new music in mind as well. Though frontman Jim James may do another solo album before the group follows up "Circuital," Blankenship is confident that not too much time will pass before the band gets in gear again.
"I just hope the process is similar to the way it was for ('Circuital'), where we don't really demo that much, just play the songs a few times and press 'record' and try to capture that first-take magic," he says. "Beyond that, it's pretty open-ended. We're not at the point where we know anything concrete yet."
My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $47.50 pavilion, $26 lawn with $1 from each ticket donated to the Do Foundation. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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