Jim Jones, formerly of the Jim Jones Revue, Black Moses, and Thee Hypnotics, has been pouring all his energy into his new project Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind for the past couple of years. The band released a trio of EPs from 2015 through 2016 and are now delivering a mind melting rock & rollin’ debut long player ‘Super Natural’ via Hound Gawd Records.
“I was impatient to release the record, it was actually ready a good while before the release, but for one reason or another, it wasn’t the right time (industry stuff mostly),” Jim Jones said of ‘Super Natural.’ “But now that it’s finally out, I think delay was an important period for the band to really get its chops together. The band was a good live band before, but now, with the extra time … we’re on fire!”
Jones’ (lead vocals and guitar) posse aka the Righteous Mind, is a group of roughens featuring Malcolm Troon (guitar, pedal steel, backing vocals); Matt Millership (keyboards, backing vocals); Gavin Jay (bass, backing vocals); and Phil Martini (drums, backing vocals). As a cohesive unit, the band delivers straight forward rock, a little swamp boogie, rockabilly, and garage rock swagger.
“They sound incredibly right on this record,” Jones said of his new backing band. “We formed about two years ago in London and the first creative sessions and recordings began immediately after the last concert of the Jim Jones Revue (my previous band). The bass player Gavin is also from the Revue. The other guys I haven’t played with before, although the drummer Phil and Malcolm who plays pedal steel and guitar, were in a band together around the turn of the century. The recordings are the first time for us playing together as a band, but I had a clear idea of how I wanted everything to sound right from the get go, which works well sometimes.”
Recorded and mixed at London’s Space Eko East Studio, ‘Super Natural’ opens with “Dream,” which sets the pace with Jones’ expressive and recognizable vocals blaring out of your speakers as the band rips through a vivacious collection of soaring guitar leads and hammering piano keys. It¹s rare to hear keyboards this up front in the mix of the album, but they are just important as the guitars.
Throughout the album you can hear elements of spiritual voodoo sing-a-longs, and deep Chicago blues and New Orleans mysterious lyrics. All combined, the songs keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.
“I think everyone has their own idea of what those places look and sound like, but there are some universal touchstones, and if you can touch on that stuff musically, it can open up a whole evocative sensual landscape. I didn’t specifically have that imagery in mind for those songs but there are definitely some ingredients from that part of the universe.”
Not to be dismissed, the band does venture outside of the norm with their sounds. Millership’s keyboard playing on “Aldecide” is like Vince Guaraldi with muscle while the bass of Martini is tightly in the pocket.
“That’s a nice compliment. I like that stuff, along with Mose Allison, Ramsey Lewis, and Dave Brubeck. That busy piano riff against the stark, driving drums was the beginnings of the song. The whole thing is built on that groove.”
The 10-track album ends with the somber psychedelia of “Everybody but Me.” It’s a mixture of Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Pink Floyd. A big contrast from their previous fleshed out garage rockers.
“I couldn’t find a better place for that song really, and I was determined that it was on the LP. It’s hard to find the right song to come after that one. I figured by the end, the listener would have had their fill of stompers and be ready for some sonic variety.”
Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind is what rock & roll is about and should be about. They have creative music which is raw, earthy, and damn good. They are a band whose passion and artistic grace comes across in each of their tracks. It is reassuring to hear this type of music in an otherwise color-by-numbers world right now.
“I think fitting in, is easy. It’s more important to try and not sound like everything else, trying to make sure you don’t sound like every other band out there…that’s the hard bit!”
Aug 10 Matterley Estate Ovington, UK
Oct 3 Le Moloco Audincourt, France
Nov 24 Ebbw Vale Institute (EVI) Ebbw Vale, UK