Shooter Jennings certainly inherited a mean streak and the rebel hellraiser gene from his daddy, if not Waylon's rumbling baritone. His debut is an uneven affair that juxtaposes offhand brilliance wit

Shooter Jennings certainly inherited a mean streak and the rebel hellraiser gene from his daddy, if not Waylon's rumbling baritone. His debut is an uneven affair that juxtaposes offhand brilliance with much lesser material. Representing the latter is the useless title cut, which unnecessarily recasts the Neil Young (and Waylon) standard "Are You Ready for the Country?" with a tired joke. But lead single "4th of July" is a rambling, romantic country-rock gem, and "Lonesome Blues" offers perspective and world-weariness rare for a 25-year-old. Similarly, the wounded "Sweet Savannah" is drenched in regret, and Jennings rocks hard on a Dixie-fried potboiler like "Steady at the Wheel." Potshots at Nashville, like "Solid Country Gold," might solidify Jennings' outsider status but add little musically, though he does better when he smacks California around on "Southern Comfort." "I've made some mistakes and I know that I'm young" he sings on an untitled hidden track, which sums it up nicely.—RW

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print