My Morning Jacket's catalog is a story of steady change. The story with the shambling, lo-fi Americana of their early records — the work of a young studio tinkerer and prodigious songwriter from Louisville, Ky. named Jim James. But even then, it wasn't simple — James incorporated precise harmonies, off-kilter rhythms, and a slightly demented songwriting style that yielded a truly distinctive sound, and hinted at his outsize sonic ambitions.

A few years later, James and a crack band fine-tuned an approach that balanced arena-ready guitar bombast, huge hooks, James' righteous vocal chords, and that same touch of weirdness. Then, they used it conquer the hearts of the alternative world. Still later, the increasingly audacious sonic excursions of their breakthrough albums gave way to work that wasn't afraid to venture off the path, and into realms both strange and serene.

In the gallery above, we take stock of the gradual evolution of My Morning Jacket's distinctive sound, from the scruffy Louisville days to the band's ongoing, genre-blurring perch atop the indie rock mainstream.

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