The recent eight-part Country Music documentary on PBS created by Ken Burns was a big hit about a month ago. The expansive and captivating project brought to life the history of country music, delving back into its pre-recorded history in the 1800s to the explosion that was the beginning of the country music market spurred on by recordings made in the 1920s in Atlanta, New York City and Bristol, Tennessee.
Country music has gone through many different phases over the last century and was diverse from its earliest recordings that featured the Stoneman Family, the Carter Family, Jimmy Rodgers and more. As country music became an established business, its popularity grew and waned depending on the other competing music being produced in a given era, the popularity of the artists of the time and the rise of other forms of music that took away its luster.
Rock and roll, jazz, folk and pop music would all impact country music at various stages. Now an established industry in Nashville, music business executives who were trying to keep the genre relevant so they could continue to make big money would try to change the country music sound at times. In the 1960s it was a move towards what was called The Nashville Sound. Down to earth country music, such as the true life blues of Hank Williams and others, was out of fashion. Some country musicians in the early 1970s rebelled and moved to Texas so they could make music their own way, and that was the birth of the Outlaw Country movement. At the heart of the Outlaw Country movement were artists such as Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tompall Glaser and Waylon Jennings.
Waylon Jennings would quickly become a legend in the new genre, and rightly so as his unique songs and lyrics reflected the freedom sought and found by the Outlaw Country scene.
Unfortunately, Jennings died in 2002. The good news is that one of the artists that chose to carry on the Outlaw Country tradition was Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings.
It is not easy to be the child of a legend, especially one who decides to make music in their famous parent’s footsteps. But Shooter Jennings is an artist who found his own voice along the way and has built up an impressive career over the last two decades.
Shooter recorded an album with his father Waylon in 1996 when he was 17 years old, but no record label would pick it up and distribute it. After that, Shooter played in a few rock bands that found regional success. But, after his father died in 2002, Shooter eventually made the move to record and tour under his own name, releasing his first solo album “Put The ‘O’ Back In Country” in 2006.
Since then, Shooter Jennings’ career has blossomed and Huntington and the Tri-State has played a big part in that reality. Jennings has consistently returned to perform in the region in recent years. His next concert here in town will take place this Friday at the V Club.
The Shooter Jennings concert at the V Club will begin at 9 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 8. The 18-and-over show will feature opening act Hellbound Glory. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show. More information can be found at vclublive.com.
Jennings latest album is simply titled Shooter and the project contains everything from the horn-driven rock and roll sound of the opening cut “Bound Ta Git Down” to the Outlaw Country steel guitar groove of “Do You Love Texas?”
Other highlights from this acclaimed album that Jennings is bringing to town this weekend include the songs “I’m Wild and My Woman Is Crazy,” “D.R.U.N.K.,” “Fast Horses and Good Hideouts” and the hit single “Rhinestone Eyes.” You can listen to or download the album here.
In the meantime, listeners can catch Shooter Jennings’ radio show Electric Rodeo on the Sirius/XM satellite radio network at 6 p.m. on Saturday evenings and 10 p.m. on Sunday nights on channel 60, the Outlaw Country channel.