Shooter leans back into country
By Kristin M. Hall
As the son of two iconic country musicians, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings was always trying to be unpredictable in his own career as a musician and producer.
He’s recorded psychedelic metal and hard rock, released a concept album written with horror writer Stephen King and a tribute album to electronic disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder. So maybe the most unexpected thing he could do was make a classic, honky-tonk country record.
“I think in the past I’ve always felt like this desire to prove that I was not just country,” 39-year-old Jennings said from his home in Los Angeles, where he’s lived for 18 years. “At this point for me, I felt like it was a left turn to do a really country record.”
Jennings really can’t escape his country roots, but he felt the timing was right to revisit the genre’s earlier era, specifically the heyday of ’80 country music, on his new record “Shooter,” out on Friday.
“I just also kind of felt like there was a large disenfranchised group of country fans that maybe were a little tired of the politics or a little tired of where the direction of things were going,” Jennings said.
He connected back with Dave Cobb, the producer who worked on his first country record “Put the ‘O’ Back in Country” in 2005, and whose Grammy-winning work with Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton in recent years has made him one of the most in-demand producers in Nashville, Tennessee.
“That was my first successful country record,” Cobb said. “That’s how I came to Nashville for the first time. I didn’t know a lot about country music before meeting him.”