Shooter Jennings keeps forging his own path with "Denim & Diamonds"
(Video: Shooter Jennings via YouTube)
As the son of country music royalty, Shooter Jennings has a lot of latitude to do his own thing. Case in point: in the run-up to his next record, Shooter, we find the younger Jennings releasing singles as a part of a delightfully batty YouTube variety show titled Hey Shooter!
Filled with tongue-in-cheek jokes, the intros to these videos poke fun at the decadent and depraved side of redneck living. "Denim & Diamonds," the third episode in the series, is his best comment so far on the dichotomy of country music fandom.
"Diamonds" brings in the added layer of honky tonk culture, focusing on an unnamed, blue collar woman who just wants to get out on the weekends. Her thankless customers, bills, and family be damned, she's going to titular club. It's a simple tune that avoid cliche through sheer force of will from Jennings and company.
Viewers start with a series of cutaways as Jennings and friends joke about drinking, God, and man's relationship with his livestock. An almost comical banjo track plays in the background. Eventually we cut to a solemn Jennings sitting behind his keyboard with full backing band.
Jennings' voice borders on haunting, with tremendous low end range. The combination of the deep tuning and heavy licks of a late 80's alt metal band like Living Colour as much as it does his contemporaries in the Outlaw Country scene. The southern touches are still there: a fiddle in the back and muddy guitar notes that remind you of the south and close ties to the Blues abound.
It all works because Jennings comes from a place of experience. He's seen all of this up close, spending a lifetime in country music. Even if he doesn't relate to certain facets of the culture or adhere to the strict definition of country, Jennings gets that it's going to mean different things to different listeners. Backed by his bonafides as a wildly gifted musician, he's putting his own stamp on the genre, even if his last name always follows.