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Stories, Transcendence, and My Morning Jacket

Posted in: General by Mary McDonough on December 22, 2013

VH1’s “Storytellers” is one of my television favorite shows. It features musicians who perform in front of a small live audience and tell personal stories about their music.

Recently I watched My Morning Jacket’s performance on the show. The episode actually aired in 2011 but this was the first time I’d seen it. At one point, Jim Jones, the band’s lead singer/guitarist/songwriter, told a very poignant story about a late friend. As many childhood buddies do, the two of them shared dreams together. Dreams of performing in a band, of being successful musicians. Unfortunately Jones’ friend died young but he has not been forgotten. Jones wrote a song called “Dondante” in honor of his friend. Here is the video clip from “Storytellers.” Listen to the very end of the video because there is more to the story.

YouTube Preview Image

What I love most about this video is the rawness, the emotional vulnerability Jones shares with his audience. It epitomizes the intersection of rock music and theology; an intersection that can be described as a crossroads where we go to experience transcendence—a kind of “release” from our “selves,” our egos, and our physical limitations. Transcendence takes us on a special journey, an “expedition of the soul,” that can lead to redemption, to shared suffering, to joy, to healing, to mourning, to meaning. To so many places where mere ordinary words simply cannot take us; where only melodies, lyrics, chants, prayers, rituals, and stories can lead us. Places we need to go because we are embodied souls searching for the Mystery that is God.

Mary McDonough