Shooter Jennings is an American singer-songwriter. He is the song of two country musicians. As a result, interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Jennings is something of a country musician in his own right.
That qualifier matters because he is famous for his eclectic mix of influences, meaning he is easiest summed up as a country rock musician for the sake of convenience.
So far, Jennings has released 11 studio albums. Chances are good that he will continue releasing new material in the times to come.
Here are 10 of the best Shooter Jennings songs ever released:
10. “Outlaw You”
Grumbling can make for surprisingly good song inspiration. Here, Jennings complains about how the music industry has commercialized the image of the outlaw country musician, which has come at the expense of the spirit that is supposed to underlie the genre. It isn’t the most novel of concepts, but it is executed well enough to earn a place on this list.
9. Daddy’s Farm
“Daddy’s Farm” isn’t one of those songs dripping with nostalgia. Instead, it describes someone who gets into a shootout with the police before making a failed run for it.
Something that seems to have happened because he murdered his significant other and the man she was having an affair with. The story isn’t that notable. It is the skill with which the story was told that makes this song memorable.
8. “The Gunslinger”
“The Gunslinger” comes from Jennings’s The Other Life in 2013. It took inspiration from The Gunslinger, the first novel in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.
For those unfamiliar, the latter is a novel series centered on Roland Deschain, a gunslinger from a different world pursuing the Man in Black. He is caught in a time loop, which is punishment for his willingness to pursue his goal through the sacrifice of others.
However, Deschain changes a bit each time because his personality reflects his experiences, even though he loses the memories. Regardless, “The Gunslinger” is an excellent example of Jennings’s interest in mixing country with other genres.
7. “Manifesto No. 4”
Speaking of which, “Manifesto No. 4” is another song that shows influence from a non-country genre. Specifically, it makes it very clear that Jennings has a fair amount of familiarity with gospel music.
However, he treats these themes with a certain casualness, as shown by the song’s actual subject. The result works surprisingly well, thus enabling “Manifesto No. 4” to claim this spot on this list.
6. “The Wolf”
“The Wolf” is the title track of Jennings’s third studio album. Historically speaking, these animals weren’t seen in a very positive light.
After all, they could threaten humans and their livestock, which is why they were seen as evil or otherwise unpleasant by a wide range of cultures. Nowadays, the perception of wolves is much more nuanced. This song uses the animal to generate a sense of isolation and under threat.
Something that works well because wolves are in such bad shape throughout so much of the world. On the whole, “The Wolf” fits smoothly with the rest of Jennings’s work from the period.
5. “Busted in Baylor County”
“Busted in Baylor County” is a very literal song. After all, it is about how the viewpoint character and his bandmates got arrested for being high while driving through the titular area. With that said, they do manage to get out of the situation just fine in the end, courtesy of a convivial judge eager to get some autographs.
4. “Electric Rodeo”
“Electric Rodeo” is the title track of Jennings’s second studio album from 2006. It isn’t the happiest song because it is an expression of misery from someone constantly on the move without anywhere to truly call home. Still, that doesn’t do anything to detract from its quality as a song.
3. “Southern Comfort”
Home is a powerful symbol. It was so in the past, it remains so in the present, and it will presumably remain so in the future. “Southern Comfort” is an excellent example of that because its viewpoint character is homeward bound after becoming disappointed with California.
The song features a wonderful mix of blues, soul, and gospel influences, which enable it to stand out from a sea of competitors.
2. “The Outsider”
“The Outsider” is a spirited song. As a result, it resonates with a wide range of listeners. A strong sense of alienation runs throughout the lyrics. The viewpoint character doesn’t just describe himself as a part of the periphery. Instead, he goes as far as to say he is someone left behind even by those who share his sentiments.
That kind of loneliness is something everyone feels from time to time, particularly when they feel overwhelmed by the world around them. Despite this, the song also shines with a similarly strong determination to make it. Thanks to this, it is far from being purely woeful, thus preventing it from falling into the same misery as so many other works on the same theme.
1. “4th of July”
It seems safe to say that “4th of July” is one of Jennings’s most famous songs. After all, it managed to make it to the number 26 position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart back in 2005, which isn’t the kind of thing that just any song can do. Besides this, “4th of July” is notable for featuring George Jones.
As such, the song was a fascinating reminder of what modern country music can be while still paying its respects to one of the genre’s all-time greats.
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