Since he formed his fi rst rock band, Stargunn, 11 years ago, Waylon Albright “Shooter” Jennings — the only son of country music legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter — has had a push-and-pull relationship with the Nashville mainstream.
“Everybody thought I had a vendetta with country radio, which isn’t the case,” says Jennings, 27, who now leads the .357’s, an energetic quartet that mixes rock, country and blues into its own Americana-style attack — a spirit not dissimilar to the “outlaw” movement his parents were part of in the ’70s.
Ironically, Jennings says he often battles a misperception that he follows too many country conventions, such as using studio musicians on his albums, therefore betraying that outlaw ideal. That’s one of the reasons Jennings recently released “Live at Irving Plaza 4.18.06” from a concert in New York City.
“We’ve really started to establish to the people how we operate as a band, I think,” Jennings says. “We’re, like, the real-dealband deal. We did the whole first record before we ever had a (recording) deal, and it’s stayed that way.
“So it’s important to me that people recognize the guys in my band and understand how the musical bond works between us. That’s what will always keep it real.”
And while the music on “Irving Plaza” and Jennings’ two studio albums may be a bit too raw and rocking for country radio, he holds out hope that he’ll one day find a home there — but on his own terms.
“I have faith it will come around,” he says. “I have faith country music is gonna expand its borders. People who did love the outlaw music, those people understand the music. They’re hound dogs. They follow the scent. More and more, I think that’s going to lead the industry back to this kind of music and the way we make it.”
Shooter Jennings & the .357’s and the Deadstring Brothers perform Thursday (November 16th) at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (313) 833-9700 or visit www.majestic detroit.com.
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