Waylon Lives on Through Shooter Jennings

Country legend Jennings' rocker son readies album built around dad's lost vocals

March 17, 2006 3:27 PM ET

With his second album, Electric Rodeo, dropping April 4th, country rocker Shooter Jennings has already hatched plans for a surprisingly personal new project -- built around experimental tracks he recorded with his father, the legendary Waylon.

"In 1996, me and my dad went into a studio and did a record together," he explains. "At the time I was all into, like, Nine Inch Nails, and I did all this electronic weird shit under his voice. A lot of weird songs -- covers and stuff. And we even did an original called 'Are You There?'"

Drawn to the older material, Shooter went back and -- with the help of his producer Dave Cobb and backing band the 357's -- "reinvented a whole record around my dad's voice." "It was like connecting the dots, making this album," says Shooter, the only son of Nashville icons Jennings and Jessi Colter. "I'm so proud of it, it's unbelievable."

The result, Waylon Jennings and the 357's, expected to see release this fall, showcases Jennings' vocals backed by the outlaw rock of his L.A.-based son's musicians.

But Waylon Jennings fans should prepare themselves for something way more experimental than his classics. "It's pretty wild, man," says Shooter, who released his debut, Put the "O" Back in Country, just last year, and also paid tribute to his father by playing him in the Oscar-winning Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. "It sounds like Zeppelin mixed with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon mixed with Waylon. There's some songs that are country, but there are some songs that are just out there."

As for Electric Rodeo, Shooter decided the album needed one final touch. At the last minute, he switched out a cover of the Hank Williams, Jr., tune "(The) Living Proof" for the brand-new original "It Ain't Easy". "The minute I wrote it, I knew it was a better way to tie up the whole record," he explains. "The sentiment -- it's about my dad."

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