Singer-songwriter Tennessee Jet recruits an impressive group of like-minded performers for a trumpet-accented cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty,” famously recorded by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. The new rendition, featuring Cody Jinks, Paul Cauthen, and Elizabeth Cook, appears on Tennessee Jet’s upcoming album The Country, due out September 4th.
Assisted by mellotron strings, “Pancho and Lefty” has an epic, cinematic quality, with guests jumping in to sing a verse like a group of friends sharing in the retelling of a favorite old story. Nelson’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael adds his signature sound into the mix, and trumpet player Brian Newman (Lady Gaga) brightens things up with a mid-song solo.
“It was like directing a movie as much as producing a song in that every section has a different person picking up the lead roles…four singers and two instrumental soloists,” Tennessee Jet says. “[Brian] invited me to come sit in at the Nomad Hotel where he hosts a jazz night. I really dug playing old country songs with horns and when it came time to record ‘Pancho,’ I asked Brian if he’d play on it. It ended up being one of my favorite parts of the whole record.”