Sons Of Kemet are born of many vital elements – including a name that nods to ancient Egyptian culture, and a line-up that comprises some of the most progressive 21st-century talents in British jazz and beyond. Band-leader, composer and sax and clarinet don Shabaka Hutchings (himself named after a Nubian pharaoh-philosopher) brings together his fiery vision alongside London-based bandmates Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford (forming a dynamo duo on drums here) and latest addition Theon Cross (taking over from Oren Marshall on tuba).
Bare Bones is a mellow, mostly acoustic collection of original and previously recorded Wishbone Ash songs. The only remaining member from the British outfit's '70s glory days, guitarist Andy Powell selected some numbers from the Argus and Wishbone Four years that blend nicely with some late-era compositions. Soft-rocking country tunes like the superior "Hard Times" and "Baby Don't Mind" dominate most of the Bare Bones track list. Classics like "Errors of My Ways" are low on folk/country appeal, but still sound very different than the original recordings. Despite this offering's unique textural quality, Wishbone Ash fans will definitely recognize the easy melodic sense that the band always captured in the studio. For a group so separated in time from their glory years, Powell and company do a remarkable job keeping things fresh on Bare Bones.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard first teamed up on record for Pancho & Lefty in 1983, a record released some 20 years after both singers began their careers. Back then, they were both hovering around 50, already considered old guys, but Django and Jimmie arrives 32 years after that record, when there's no question that the pair are old-timers. Appropriately enough, mortality is on their minds throughout Django and Jimmie, a record whose very title is taken from Willie and Merle's childhood idols. It's a song that seems like a confession, as does the casual admission that they didn't think they'd "Live This Long," but neither Nelson nor Haggard wrote this, nor the title track or the album's first single, the near-novelty "It's All Going to Pot."