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Shooter Jennings puts his own tattoo on music

The Paradise, Boston, November 2, 2006

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Shooter Jennings could never be accused of being lazy. In a day and age when artists take a few years in between albums, Jennings just released his second disc this year, "Live at Irving Plaza 4.18.06" and third in about a year and a half.

And he is proving to be a true road warrior as well, hitting Boston for the second time in one year.

The fact of the matter is that there wasn't a lot of difference between Shooter in November and Shooter back almost exactly a year ago at the same venue except a crowd that seemed to know his repertoire pretty darn well and was supportive of the second musical generation of the Jennings clan as Shooter is the son of perhaps the original country outlaw, Waylon.

Musically, Shooter Jennings continues with his brand of country music, which more often than not has a strong dose of rock music thrown into the mix.

The influence of Waylon is there, not surprisingly, but seeing Shooter in concert is not merely seeing the Son of Waylon as a clone. One could easily hear Waylon tackling "Some Rowdy Women," for example, but Shooter on acoustic guitar put his own spin on the music.

With a slightly hoarse voice (that's how Jennings sings he did not appear at all under the weather), the long-haired Jennings injects energy into the songs and does particularly well on the more straight-ahead country-based songs ("Solid Country Gold," which rails against Nashville cookie cutter country, the anthemc-sounding country rocker and semi-hit "Fourth of July").

Jennings' backing band continues to be solid with Leroy Powell on lead guitar, who was a bit immobile due to a neck brace, and bassist Ted Russell Kamp. Like Jennings, the .357 band is not flashy, just competent.

The negative about Jennings being the road hog that he is, he may not have new songs ready to roll out, or at least he didn't in concert. That would have been nice.

But nevertheless Shooter continues to show that he is not merely living in his father's shadow, even if he did pay tribute during the encore with daddy's "Ain't Livin' Long Like This." Instead, he puts his own face on his musical direction.