Shooter Jennings - "The Other Life" Mar 13, 2015 11:33:22 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 13, 2015 11:33:22 GMT -5
The Other Life (2013)
By: Shooter Jennings
By: Shooter Jennings
In the neotraditional realm of country music, while Shooter Jennings, son of country outlaw Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, doesn't seem to command the same ground as Hank Williams III, Jennings has a brand of music all his own, one that doesn't rely so heavily on outlaw country as it does the traditional aspects of a variety of different genres. The Other Life solidifies Jennings's diversity with his music, creating various different sounds, genre meshes, and instrument blends to make for a sound that's grittier and darker than most neotraditional country music released today, even on the kind that lies on a more metal level.
Jennings show his affinity for ambiance and storytelling on The Other Life, with songs like the classic honky-tonk diddy "The Outsider" and the album's brooding closer "The Gunslinger," which takes things up a notch with a more vulgar presence. However, Jennings combats what could've fallen into noisy, lackluster territory with country, rock, and jazz influences that create a six-minute long tune chock full of the kind of rampant variety some don't even put into their album. Other songs like the banjo-heavy "Low Road," which has Shooter reminiscing on tough moments in life when he had to man up and take the low road around them, the rock and roll getup "Mama, It's Just My Medicine," and the somber, honky-tonk ballad "Wild & Lonesome" all detail the life of a spirited outlaw quite vibrantly, with no two songs ever sounding the same. Even if Shooter missteps, which he does so rarely, his desire to experiment puts him further head than those who carry out an entire album playing it safe.
Shooter's most controversial, rabble-rousing song on the album is "Outlaw You," a direct diss to the Jason Aldean's and Luke Bryan's of the country world, who only act as "country" as their label allows them to, as they've thought them to walk the walk and talk the talk to just seem legitimate enough. Shooter calls this a "dirt road free-for-all" in that whomever seems to want to behave like an outlaw can, with no sense of individuality or self to speak of whatsoever. "Outlaw You" is a damn honest track, and its nonchalant, unassuming lyrical and production presence makes it seem a lot more tranquil than its subject matter would lead you to believe.
The Other Life is a beautifully composed album, one of considerable highs, few lows, and a thoughtful showcase of an artist who still finds himself, like many artists of his genre, on the outskirts of not mainstream success (something, I feel, no true country outlaw wants) but from any sort of next level recognition. If Shooter, however, keeps cranking out music of this variety in an experimental but thoroughly poignant manner that he has with The Other Life, that feat will change rather quickly, I feel.
Recommended tracks (in order): "The Outsider," "The Gunslinger," "Outlaw You," "The Low Road," and "Wild and Lonesome."