My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens took turns leading the New Basement Tapes supergroup through two tracks on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday night, performing both “Nothing to It” and “Duncan and Jimmy” along with Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford and Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith. The group was put together by super-producer T Bone Burnett, who had the outfit compose music for previously unused Bob Dylan lyrics, written during the famed Basement Tapes sessions.
James fronted the New Basement Tapes on the rollicking “Nothing to It,” getting an assist on the harmonies from Giddens and a bass-wielding Costello, before ripping two particularly vicious solos.
Then, banjo in hand, Giddens took lead on “Duncan and Jimmy,” an up-tempo folk rocker featuring some blistering riffs from Costello and a rousing chorus sung by the whole group that’s not as uplifting as it sounds: “Duncan and Jimmy, walk side by side/Nobody walks between them,” the group sings, “Duncan and Jimmy, walk side by side/Has anybody seen them?” Bonus points for Giddens who sells the second half of the phrase by giving the entire crowd a melodramatic look of cross-eyed worry.
The New Basement Tapes released their debut album, Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, earlier this month and have since brought their new renditions of lost Dylan songs to The Tonight Show and Ellen. A documentary chronicling the writing and recording process of Lost on the River will air on Showtime tomorrow, November 21st at 9 p.m.