Aug 5, 2014

Album Review: Shooter Jennings - Don't Wait Up (For George)

Shooter Jennings' project honoring the dearly departed Possum is as unique as Jones himself and as passionately odd as its master of ceremonies. Jennings here places these two original songs and three covers squarely in the context of 70s and 80s music - likely a nod to the era Shooter came to know George.

Opener "Don't Wait Up (I'm Playin' Possum)" one might expect to be a right-in-the-pocket country tune based on the title, but they'd be absurdly off. It's a loping, out-of-left-field tune enhanced by some off-kilter keys (as in synthesizer keys) and kept in the realm of country by some flourishes of steel guitar. It's a jarring track the first time you hear it, but I'll be damned if it doesn't work.

"She Thinks I Still Care" is a stripped down cover that keeps all the sorrow of the original while bouncing along on a bass line heartbeat.

Katy Cole of a new act on Shooter's BCR label, Last Daze, provides stunning backing vocals, along with her own verse, on the rendition of "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me." This cover comes the closest to matching the stone country sound of the EP's honoree and it's probably the track hard-core Jones fans will find themselves most drawn to.

My personal favorite of the bunch is album closer, "The Door." Here, Shooter transforms the plaintive classic country song into a Joe Walsh-esque rocker that sounds like it came straight from the archives of your local classic rock station. Jennings' spin on Jones is both a re-imagining and a heartfelt tribute. Much like the EP, it shouldn't work, but it exceeds expectations. 

Don't Wait Up is available at BCR, iTunes, Amazon, etc.

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