Waylon Albright Jennings — better known as “Shooter” Jennings — is coming to town this weekend, and fans in Bloomington are getting ready.
The singer-songwriter will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at the Bluebird Nightclub along with Waymore’s Outlaws, his late father’s backing band.
“This will be Shooter’s second or third time at the Bluebird,” said booking agent Gary Kirves. “The crowd is usually a good cross of rock and (country) outlaw fans, and Shooter will be performing hits from his father’s career as well as some originals.”
The son of outlaw country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter has made a name for himself by fusing an industrial rock, Guns N’ Roses-type sound with the genre his parents helped pioneer.
“What makes outlaw country different is that it is an alternative genre to the country mainstream, with roots in the ‘Americana’ folk style,” Kirves said.
The Outlaw Movement was originally started in the 1970s and 1980s by artists such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson in response to the “Nashville sound,” or highly formulaic and mainstream country music. With roots in the honky-tonk sound of the 1940s and early rock ’n’ roll, the outlaw genre infused country with folk rhythms and stripped away excess orchestration.
A noticeable shift in fashion followed the movement: men began to grow out their hair and replace their rhinestone suites with leather jackets. Johnny Cash began to dress in all black, earning him the nickname “Man In Black.” By shifting to outlaw, country artists began to experience revivals of their careers.
Kirves said Shooter Jennings strives to carry on his father’s outlaw tradition in his music.
“Keeping his father alive in his music has made Shooter a favorite of mine,” said Indianapolis resident Philip Hussey. “Waylon always will be missed, but Shooter is doing some cool stuff, and I’m ready to jam out on Friday.”
Bloomington visitor Sherry Crosby remembers attending a Waylon Jennings concert in 1967.
“I was so little, I remember Waylon’s black boots ... I had a mad crush on him my whole life,” she said. “But now we have his son to listen to and appreciate.”
In 2001, Jennings formed the rock band Stargunn in Los Angeles and soon released his debut album “The Only Way Up is Down.” Seven years later, Jennings dissolved Stargunn and cited the need to return to his “country outlaw roots,” and turned down the request of hard-rock band Velvet Revolver to front their band.
At this point, Jennings transitioned to country and released a solo album “Put the ‘O’ Back in Country,” sending his name soaring onto the charts of Billboard Hot Country Songs.
More recently, Jennings created and hosted a new radio channel with blogger Adam Sheets to focus on country rock and hybrid bands — essentially music that fell beyond the boundaries of mainstream radio.
His upcoming tour schedule includes stops in more than 20 states, including a Brooklyn Bowl concert in New York with mother Jessi Colter and the Outlaw Country Cruise from Tampa, Florida, to Cozumel.
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