Shooter Jennings - The Other Life

Charismatic second-generation country

Waylon Albright Jennings was
named after his famous
father, the country star to
whom labels such as
“maverick” and “outlaw” were
liberally stuck like Post-it
notes on a Nashville dive
bar’s fridge. He even got to
play his dad in the Johnny
Cash biopic Walk The Line,
but Shooter’s own maverick
credentials veer far from any
kind of honky-tonk hierarchy.

Shooter’s 33 now, the
old man’s been dead for
a decade and, on his
seventh album, Jennings Jr
raises the occasional shot
glass to the family name
(The Low Road, Mama It’s
Just My Medicine), but for
the most part he treads his
own path. This is country music
with its own 21st-century
agenda, with an attitude and
articulacy that is as much
about urban plight as it is
ornery back-porch folk.

The Other Life checks in
at the expected redneck
haunts, but with the lyrical
verve of writers from further
afield (the pathos of Shane
MacGowan on Wild And
Lonesome, the doom-laden
cynicism of Nick Cave on The
Gunslinger). It’s a canny
balancing act, embracing the
rich heritage of outsider
country while riding shotgun
as it motors down broader
highways of American angst.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Blue Rose | BLU DP 0599 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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