The latest collaboration between two outlaw country legends takes a nostalgic look at the dusty roads they’ve travelled down together
he 1983 album Pancho & Lefty saw outlaw country stars Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard team up to record a commercial and critical smash. The duo have worked together on and off ever since, and now return with their latest collaboration. A nostalgic tribute to legendary musicians Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, as well as each other, their sixtth album together is best summed up by a line from the title track, “There might not have been a Merle or a Willie/if not for Django and Jimmy”.
Throughout, this collection of new songs and reworked classics comes across as a campfire confessional by two old bandits who know they can’t hold out much longer. They swap stories about an absent friend on Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash, doff their Stetsons to their favourite recreational pastime with It’s All Going To Pot (see below) and cherish the times they had together on both Unfair Weather Friend and The Only Man Wilder Than Me.
The pair swap songs on a couple of tracks, with Haggard taking the lead on the swinging hymn Family Bible and Nelson returning the favour on the heartfelt ballad Somewhere Between. Their mutual affection is plain to hear and ensures that Django And Jimmie feels like an authentic addition to their legacy rather than a cynical box-ticking exercise.
Verdict: Two country veterans offer up a touching tribute to enduring friendship
Want to know more? Here’s a video about the making of the album…