Posted on May 31, 2013 by jakob-dylan.
Tagged with shooter jennings, the other life, articles, outlaw country, .

Glide Magazine gives Shooter Jennings’ “The Other Life” 4 out of 5 stars! "Shooter Jennings The Other Life By Ric Hickey May 31, 2013 ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆  To varying degrees, aren’t we all subject to the inner voice of our ancestors’ hopes and dreams? Does not the young gunslinger set out in hopes of meeting or exceeding the example set by his father? And if that parent’s legacy is comprised in large part by international fame and glory for their life’s work, isn’t it likely that the child may face some identity issues of their own as they mature into adulthood? On his new album, The Other Life, we find Shooter Jennings pondering these and other existential concerns in hillbilly terms. Country songwriters have long sought to re-arrange the same three chords and down-home imagery in a quest to create something compelling if not exactly new. A graphic Southern Gothic soliloquy plays out in Shooter’s lyrics as dirt roads, roosters, women, whiskey, and Hank Williams flutter and swirl around in his thoughts like flakes in a snow globe.  No time is wasted getting to the heart of the matter as the record opens with the spacey, almost-Floydian intro of “Flying Saucer Song” that asks, “Do you know who you are?” This is soon revealed to be a self-directed inquiry as Shooter spends the rest of the album simultaneously asserting and questioning his own identity. This ominous Art Rock intro sounds like nothing else on the record but our protagonist moves quickly into the more familiar territory of vintage Southern Rock and hard driving Country music. Though he’s the rightful heir to the Outlaw Country genre that was more or less invented by his dad, Shooter Jennings seems dubious about the label. The formula’s in his very DNA and at times the stuff seems to flow out of him effortlessly. This is his home turf after all, and he digs his heels in deep to defend it. But his dad taught him well about the double-edged sword of fame: spotlights can blind and illuminate, often simultaneously. With one eye on the road and the other keeping close watch over his own wild instincts, Shooter gives voice to his convictions and contradictions over a righteous and rugged Country Rock groove. Shooter’s forte is hard driving country songs that speak brutal truths yet remain accessible and convey a gritty everyman sensibility. It’s a delicate balance and a tightrope dichotomy but he nails it with “The Low Road”. In a slice of dad’s advice set to a rockin’ Honky Tonk bar brawl rumble, Shooter extols the virtues of fighting back when bullies force you up against the wall. “A Hard Lesson To Learn” and “The Outsider” are further examples of lean and muscular Country Rock, and there’s some gratifying detours through Bluesy ballads like the title track as well. There’s no growth without struggle and Shooter seems determined to fight and scrap for every last morsel of insight and understanding of his place on the planet. Instead of lazily riding his famous father’s coattails, he leans hard into the headwinds, determined to confront every challenge face first and blaze his own trail. Apparently a diet of brutally honest introspection and fierce adherence to sincerity and tradition is fat free, because there simply is no flab on this record. It’s all blood, guts, muscle, furrowed brows and angry beards. Another high water mark is the slow-burning Country ballad “Wild And Lonesome”. It’s very title sums up Shooter’s dueling impulses. With no use for the unexamined life, Shooter knows that some of the things he learns along the way will be hard to swallow. One can easily see a future for him similar to the path taken by his spiritual uncle Willie Nelson, another righteous rebel. It’s a bumpy trail, but the hillbilly mystic pieces together the puzzle of his elusive enlightenment from a roadside strewn with empty bottles, dirty jokes, bitter pills, and broken hearts. Shooter fearlessly confronts the duality of man’s nature. Can Saturday night and Sunday morning learn to live side by side? Directly quoting one of his father’s songs, he asks, “Don’t y’all think this ‘outlaw’ bit done got outta hand?” As a lens through which to view and contemplate the finer points of man’s perplexing nature, The Other Life is not just Shooter’s birthright but a surprisingly fertile platform for hard-won philosophical insights. Papa would be proud.

Glide Magazine gives Shooter Jennings’ “The Other Life” 4 out of 5 stars!

"Shooter Jennings
The Other Life
By Ric Hickey
May 31, 2013 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

To varying degrees, aren’t we all subject to the inner voice of our ancestors’ hopes and dreams? Does not the young gunslinger set out in hopes of meeting or exceeding the example set by his father? And if that parent’s legacy is comprised in large part by international fame and glory for their life’s work, isn’t it likely that the child may face some identity issues of their own as they mature into adulthood?

On his new album, The Other Life, we find Shooter Jennings pondering these and other existential concerns in hillbilly terms. Country songwriters have long sought to re-arrange the same three chords and down-home imagery in a quest to create something compelling if not exactly new. A graphic Southern Gothic soliloquy plays out in Shooter’s lyrics as dirt roads, roosters, women, whiskey, and Hank Williams flutter and swirl around in his thoughts like flakes in a snow globe.

No time is wasted getting to the heart of the matter as the record opens with the spacey, almost-Floydian intro of “Flying Saucer Song” that asks, “Do you know who you are?” This is soon revealed to be a self-directed inquiry as Shooter spends the rest of the album simultaneously asserting and questioning his own identity. This ominous Art Rock intro sounds like nothing else on the record but our protagonist moves quickly into the more familiar territory of vintage Southern Rock and hard driving Country music. Though he’s the rightful heir to the Outlaw Country genre that was more or less invented by his dad, Shooter Jennings seems dubious about the label. The formula’s in his very DNA and at times the stuff seems to flow out of him effortlessly. This is his home turf after all, and he digs his heels in deep to defend it. But his dad taught him well about the double-edged sword of fame: spotlights can blind and illuminate, often simultaneously. With one eye on the road and the other keeping close watch over his own wild instincts, Shooter gives voice to his convictions and contradictions over a righteous and rugged Country Rock groove.

Shooter’s forte is hard driving country songs that speak brutal truths yet remain accessible and convey a gritty everyman sensibility. It’s a delicate balance and a tightrope dichotomy but he nails it with “The Low Road”. In a slice of dad’s advice set to a rockin’ Honky Tonk bar brawl rumble, Shooter extols the virtues of fighting back when bullies force you up against the wall. “A Hard Lesson To Learn” and “The Outsider” are further examples of lean and muscular Country Rock, and there’s some gratifying detours through Bluesy ballads like the title track as well. There’s no growth without struggle and Shooter seems determined to fight and scrap for every last morsel of insight and understanding of his place on the planet. Instead of lazily riding his famous father’s coattails, he leans hard into the headwinds, determined to confront every challenge face first and blaze his own trail. Apparently a diet of brutally honest introspection and fierce adherence to sincerity and tradition is fat free, because there simply is no flab on this record. It’s all blood, guts, muscle, furrowed brows and angry beards. Another high water mark is the slow-burning Country ballad “Wild And Lonesome”. It’s very title sums up Shooter’s dueling impulses.

With no use for the unexamined life, Shooter knows that some of the things he learns along the way will be hard to swallow. One can easily see a future for him similar to the path taken by his spiritual uncle Willie Nelson, another righteous rebel. It’s a bumpy trail, but the hillbilly mystic pieces together the puzzle of his elusive enlightenment from a roadside strewn with empty bottles, dirty jokes, bitter pills, and broken hearts.

Shooter fearlessly confronts the duality of man’s nature. Can Saturday night and Sunday morning learn to live side by side? Directly quoting one of his father’s songs, he asks, “Don’t y’all think this ‘outlaw’ bit done got outta hand?” As a lens through which to view and contemplate the finer points of man’s perplexing nature, The Other Life is not just Shooter’s birthright but a surprisingly fertile platform for hard-won philosophical insights.

Papa would be proud.