Shooter Jennings

Put The O Back In Country – 2005 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Shooter Jennings

Shooter Jennings is all riled up and ready - like so many others before him - to restore some rawk and raunch to country music, which many would say sounds an awful lot like adult contemporary these days. So he blasts off this record with two tracks - the title track and "4th of July" that name check Neil Young and let George Jones sing a bit of "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Shooter isn't looking to bring back country's roots, however.

In fact, it sounds like the country Shooter is referencing belongs to the era of Hank Williams Jr., Billy Joe Shaver and David Allan Coe. Muscular selections such as the galloping "Busted In Baylor Country" and fish-out-of-water story "Solid Country Gold" roar and rock, but they don't necessarily have the tart n' twang of your more traditional country song. Of course, sometimes he turns the volume down, such as on the down-and-out "Sweet Savannah," that let you know where he's coming from.

Fans of Jason and the Scorchers and Robert Earl Keen will likely thrill to Jennings' antics, but traditionalists may wonder if they haven't wandered into a sure-fire rock and roll show.