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Review: Shooter Jennings Returns to Straight-Ahead Country on ‘Shooter’

Waylon’s ambitious son sings about jamming with Guns N’ Roses and his Bonnie & Clyde-style marital bond

The son of Waylon is a notoriously ambitious musician: His last LP was an immersive tribute to Eighties music visionary Giorgio Moroder filled with all sorts of hidden samples and Easter eggs. But Jennings reins himself in on this eponymous album, a return to straight-ahead country that reunites him with producer Dave Cobb, who oversaw his 2005 debut. Inspired by the bravado and boogie of Hank Williams Jr., Jennings revels in the self-referential, singing about jamming with Guns N’ Roses on the rollicking “Bound ta Git Down” and cementing his Bonnie & Clyde bond with wife Misty on “I’m Wild and My Woman Is Crazy.” Shooter excels on the slower numbers: “Living in a Minor Key,” a version of which first appeared on Jennings’ 2014 George Jones tribute EP, is a forlorn weeper, and “Denim & Diamonds” is a smoky salute to aging barflies. Jennings may be most comfortable in front of a synth or computer, but on Shooter, he proves he’s never too far from his rootsy outlaw heritage.

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