(Low Country Sound/Elektra)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
As the only son of outlaw country royalty Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, it would seem that Shooter Jennings had an obvious life path working the edgy C&W genre. But Shooter took a twisted and arguably more interesting route. Although he has generated some albums generally in that field, he’s also dabbled in acting, created his Black Country Rock label, hosts a SIRIUS radio show, produces other artists, and even started a gaming outfit. His releases have hardly been traditional either, with 2010’s dystopian rock opera Black Ribbons and 2016’s tribute to ’70s disco auteur Georgio Morodor.
It’s all a bit head spinning and won’t prepare you for the straightforward, even radio-friendly SHOOTER. That unimaginative title reflects the surprisingly standard issue country, singer-songwriter and Southern rock and roll Jennings has reverted to.
To that end, we get a rowdy crowd-ready Texas-loving sing-along (“Do You Love Texas?”), another audience pleaser about the evils of too much alcohol masked in an upbeat, fist-raising swamper his dad might have approved of (“D.R.U.N.K.”), a twangy, gospel-laced boogie rocker detailing his raucous relationship, also perfect for revving up concertgoers (“I’m Wild & My Woman Is Crazy”) and horn blasted “Rip This Joint”/Stones-styled rock and roll that recaps some of his career highlights (“Bound To Git Down”).
A few gentle ballads, like the reflective, Eagles-influenced “Fast Horses & Good Hideouts” that references Waylon and loss in general, along with a pedal steel drenched sweet waltz “Living in a Minor Key” balance the program and display Jennings’ tender side, particularly with insightful lyrics like “When I was younger/ I had a hunger/ and I chased the thunder/ into the storm of regret.”
Workaholic producer Dave Cobb keeps SHOOTER’s sound polished proving that for better, and sometimes worse, Shooter Jennings can play by the country-rock rules when he wants to.