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Is Jim Jones on the righteous path?

Having disbanded his Revue in 2014, Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind mark a blazing return from a unique bandleader with a singular vision for rock’n’roll...

"It got to the point where it just wasn’t what it had started out as any more,” sighs Jim Jones of his former band The Jim Jones Revue, who with eight years of hard graft on the road and in the studio behind them, split in October 2014 after a string of incendiary dates billed as the Last Hurrah tour.

“We were at the stage where it felt like the Revue had to fit into the music industry – now you write the next album, now you do the next tour, now you need the licensing from that, now you need to get the distributor from that... it had started to become more about that than the original thrust of ‘I fucking love rock’n’roll!’ so it had to end.”

With no hard feelings or regret, the band went their separate ways. Well, kind of, as within just a few months of separation came talk of a new project, Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind featuring Jones and bassist Gavin Jay. Initially Revue pianist Henri Herbert was involved as well.

The story’s complicated, says Jones, who over the next hour or so explains how The Righteous Mind – named after a psychology book by Jonathan Haidt – was conceived as a side project to play songs that didn’t fit the Revue’s strict musical brief. After the Revue split, it became a full-time concern and, he says, gave him the freedom to “make music that is entertaining but also challenging and unique”.

An engaging interviewee, Jones is thoughtful, intelligent, motivated by his deep love of music. He rattles off the names of albums he’s been listening to recently. A collection of Alan Lomax’s 1959-’60 field recordings of southern folk, blues and gospel called I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore is a current favourite – “a fantastic record with emotional depth, you can hear the junction between Celtic folk and American roots,” he says. Then there’s Duke Ellington’s 1963 record Afro Bossa with “its appealing film noir mood... when jazz musicians really got into Cuban rhythms.”

These are the touchstones, he says, for his new venture, that aims to “join the musical dots”.

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