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Highwayman’s son paves his own road

By Staff | Feb 3, 2015

Shooter Jennings, son of country legend Waylon Jennings, has proven he’s not content to sit idly by as the son of country royalty. Jennings has proven a prolific artist by releasing either a single, download, or album just about every year or every other year since the early 2000s.

“I’m always working. I just got a new studio where I can do what I want to do,” said Jennings in a recent telephone interview with Graffiti.

Shooter’s latest country albums, “The Family Man” and “The Other Life,” charted at number 10 and number 19, respectively, but Jennings’ early career started in the rock music genre. He shared some of the artists that influenced him.

“Oh, man. It was bands like Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Danzig; in my 20s I wanted to play rock music.”

Jennings almost even became the frontman for Velvet Revolver, the “supergroup” consisting of Duff McKagan, Slash and Matt Sorum of GN’R, Dave Kushner of Wasted Youth and on-again, off-again vocalist Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.

One of Jennings latest labors, though, has been the formation with partner Jon Hensley of Black Country Rock Media, a multi-format record company, which gives fans music in vinyl, cassette, CD or digital formats.

“I’ve always liked cassette and vinyl but I’m a computer guy so I wanted to offer digital formats,” Jennings said.

The site also accepts the virtual currency Bitcoin, and has special shopping events for Bitcoin users.

“I’m an advocate of Bitcoin and believe the future of where music is going is behind the technology of Bitcoin,” he said.

Then the conversation turns to the topic of fair or unfair expectations, being the son of Waylon Jennings.

“People do have expectations of me, but I never felt like it was much of a burden. It’s very hard to break out of what people assume I am; I’m really a computer nerd.”

With recent tracks like “Outlaw You,” where it appears Jennings is “calling out” artists who appear not to be genuine artists, we discuss why it is he feels he has an obligation to the genre of country music.

“That song was more of a joke … but I don’t like phony people, if you’re phony I’m gonna call you out if you’re phony,” the musician says.

With an appreciation for different genres of music, it safe to say fans can expect Shooter Jennings to oscillate between country, rock and any other genres he has his ears open to. But fans may be surprised to find his upcoming project is an album inspired by 70s disco-era composer Giorgio Moroder. Jennings had previously done two tribute EPs – one for George Jones and the other “Countach (for Giorgio).” Giorgio Moroder has recently found a new audience being part of the Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories.”

“Giorgio was a really cool muse for me. I think people are really going to be surprised when they hear this record,” says Jennings.

Currently, Shooter Jennings is on tour and scheduled to hit the Mid-Ohio Valley this month at the Adelphia Music Hall in Marietta, Ohio. Other stops include Columbus, Dayton, Annapolis, Maryland and Morgantown on Feb. 20. The tour is playing more intimate venues and we spoke about the decision to play smaller clubs.

“It’s going to be a fun show,” Shooter replies simply yet assuredly, “I’m back out with the Waymores so we’re playing older stuff and my newer stuff. Also, the audience that really gets me, being an eclectic artist, knows what to expect and those fans always follow us.”