Waylon Albright "Shooter" Jennings (born May 19, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter active in the country music and Southern rock genres as well as making his first foray into psychedelic rock in 2009. Signed to Universal South Records, Jennings made his debut with the single "4th Of July" of his 2005 album Put the "O" Back in Country, which peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard country charts. Jennings has since followed with five more albums: Electric Rodeo (2006), The Wolf (2007), Black Ribbons (2009), Family Man (2012), and The Other Life (2013).
Born May 19, 1979, Shooter Jennings is the only child of country music icons Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter.
On February 13, 2002, Shooter's father died in his sleep of diabetic complications in Chandler, Arizona. He was buried in the Mesa City Cemetery, in Mesa, Arizona. At the funeral ceremony, on February 15, Shooter sang "I've Always Been Crazy" for the attendees, who included Waylon's close friends, family, and fellow musicians.
Jennings began dating actress Drea de Matteo in 2001. They became engaged on June 11, 2009, when Jennings proposed onstage at the Stanley Center during a show in Utica, New York. They have two children together, daughter Alabama Gypsyrose Jennings (born November 2007) and son Waylon Albert "Blackjack" Jennings (born April 2011). Jennings and de Matteo eventually ended their relationship without marrying. Jennings married Misty Brooke Swain on June 4, 2013 in Joshua Tree, California.
Shooter Jennings lived the first few years of his life in a crib on his parents' tour bus surrounded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. By age five, he was playing drums. At 8 years old, he began taking piano lessons. He started playing guitar at fourteen and on occasion he'd play percussion in his father's band.
In high-school Jennings fronted an industrial rock band called KilRaven for his high school's talent show. in 2011 he released the KilRaven tracks "Only You" and "Prayer to God" on his digital album Missed The Boat.
In 1996 Jennings and his father recorded an album together. They called the it "Fenixon" (a play on the words "phoenix" and "son") but couldn't find a label to distribute it. It was never released but some of the material was remastered and used for the album "Waylon Forever".
In 2001, Jennings left Nashville, Tennessee to seek his fortunes in Los Angeles. He assembled and performed with Stargunn, a rock band who, through three distinct phases, sounded like a hybrid of Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Bowie, Guns n' Roses and The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies. The band featured Jennings on piano and lead vocals, Carter Falco, and Kevin Sciou on guitar and background vocals, Curtis Roach on bass, and Lex Lipsitz on drums.
Towards the end of 2001, Stargunn released their first album The Only Way Up Is Down and toured with Saliva, Tesla, Mark Ford and others in support of the album. That same year Music Connection magazine listed Stargunn as one of the Hot 100 Unsigned Artists of 2001.
In 2002 Stargunn was featured on I've Always Been Crazy: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings, and the soundtrack to the Vince Vaughn film Made. Shortly after, Touchstone Pictures licensed the song "White Lines N Black Ties" for the film The Crew starring Burt Reynolds.
Stargunn performed together for three years, built an avid following, and earned praise from the local music press. On March 30, 2003, Jennings dissolved Stargunn and left Los Angeles to sort out what he wanted to do next.
When asked about if we'd ever get a re-release of the Stargunn material Jennings had this to say:
"We've talked about re-releasing it, but I feel like anyone who still cares has already copied it and passed it on! Maybe one day when we play a reunion where we all perform via satellite from our separate locations, we will release the fury that was Stargunn upon the world!"
After the band's breakup, Shooter was twice presented with the opportunity to front the hard rock supergroup Velvet Revolver, but choose instead to pursue a career in country music.
Put the "O" Back in Country:
He returned to Los Angeles in 2004 to begin working on new material. in 2005 Jennings signed his first recording contract, with Universal South Records, releasing his debut album Put the "O" Back in Country that same year.
"Put the "O" Back in Country" produced his only entry on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in its lead-off single "Fourth of July", which peaked at No. 26. The album version of this song features a cameo appearance by George Jones, who sings the chorus to his signature song "He Stopped Loving Her Today" at the end; this guest appearance was removed from the song's radio edit. Despite the edit, Jones was credited on the Billboard charts. The album featured his new band The .357's, which consisted of Leroy Powell on guitar, Brian Keeling on drums, Ted Kamp on bass with Robby Turner on steel, and backing vocals by Bonnie Bramlett.
Later that year his song "Busted In Baylor County" was then featured in the 2005 film version of The Dukes of Hazzard, furthermore Jennings portrayed his father in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. His rendition of his father's song "Long Way From Home" was featured on the film's soundtrack.
Electric Rodeo and The Wolf:
Though recorded before Put the "O" Back in Country, on released on April 4, 2006, Electric Rodeo was released as Jennings' second solo album. Sonically, Electric Rodeo is louder, rawer, more upfront rock & roll than its predecessor.
Electric Rodeo was followed by The Wolf on October 23, 2007. The album varied from his previous records in that the .357s had opted for a decidedly 70's feel to the instrumentals. It featured collaborations with Doug Kershaw and The Oak Ridge Boys, as well as a cover of the Dire Straits song "Walk of Life".
That same year Jennings was featured on a duet of "Good Hearted Woman" on Deana Carter's sixth studio album, The Chain.
Departure from Universal:
In 2009 Jennings, having issues with his label and wanting out of his 4 album contract released his first compilation album, Bad Magick: The Best of Shooter Jennings and the .357's. The album featured four new tracks; live versions of Lonesome Blues, and Daddy's Farm, as well as covers of his father's 'Lonesome, Onry' and Mean, and the Hank Williams, Jr. song Living Proof.
After the release of Bad Magick: The Best of Shooter Jennings and the .357's, having fulfilled his four album contract; Jennings parted ways with Universal records.
On March 23, 2009 Shooter took part in CMT Crossroads, a television show in which two musicians are paired with one another and perform a small concert together for an intimate crowd. The episode paired Jennings with close friend and fellow musician Jamey Johnson. The nights set list consisted entirely of duets, including a cover of "Outlaw Shit" from the Waylon Forever album, two Songs from Shooter's discography; "God Bless Alabama", "It Ain't Easy". As well as four songs from Johnson's album That Lonesome Song; "High Cost Of Living", "Mowing Down The Roses", "Between Jennings and Jones" and "In Color".
Having left Universal, Jennings changed the name of his backing band from "The .357's" to "Hierophant". With the news that he and his band would be joining the likes of Paramore, Bad Religion, Fall Out Boy, Jefree Star, and various other popular rock bands on the 2009 Warped Tour it became apparent that Jennings next album would differ drastically from his previous efforts.
In February 2009, it was announced that the album would be titled Black Ribbons. It was also announced that it would be a dystopian concept rock opera and that writer Stephen King would play a major role in the album as Will O' The Wisp.
It was released independently on March 2, 2010 through Black Country Rock Records, and although it was seen as a complete departure from his country sound, the album showed off the diversity as an artist and gained him much critical acclaim, as well as a brand new underground following.
When asked if there would be more Hierophant albums in the future, Shooter said "Definitely, when we need one".
On May 1, 2010 Shooter Jennings announced "Black Ribbons: The Living Album" on his Twitter account. The "Living Album" includes the full studio record and live shows with Hierophant on a USB flash drive shaped like a tarot card.
Towards the end of 2010, Jennings with the help of various other artist launched the "XXX" movement to help musicians who struggle to receive mainstream recognition.
In 2011, along with childhood friend and master pianist Erik Deutsch, Jennings formed "The Triple Crown", a new backing band featuring Erik Deutsch on piano, Tony Leone on drums, Jeff Hill on bass, Jon Graboff on pedal steel, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle and Chris Masterson on lead guitar.
On March 13, 2012, having signed a record deal with E1 Music, and with The Triple Crown along for the ride, Jennings returned to his country roots with the release of the album Family Man, his first self-produced outing. The album was originally meant to contain eighteen tracks, but was instead split into two albums; One being "Family Man" and the second being the 2013's "The Other life".
On July 31, 2012 Jennings was featured in Bucky Covington's debut single 'The Drinking Side of Country" from the album "Good Guys". Shooter took part in the February 25 Johnny Cash 80th Birthday Bash, in which he sang Cocaine Blues With Willie Nelsons Amy Nelson. The performance was released in a DVD/CD combo.
In October 2012 Jennings was one of six commentators for the Ovation mini series Song By Song: Johnny Cash
The Other Life:
While recording "Family Man", Jennings decided to cut the darker tracks from the album, and instead use them for the album's follow up, The Other Life.
"Five of these songs were recorded when we were doing Family Man, and when we were deciding what to do with it we broke it up into two records. The Other Life is representative of the other side of the coin from Family Man and the way my life has been going in a lot of ways, At first we were going to call it The Outsider, but once we got into the film we thought, Well, it's like a mirror, a dark mirror of what Family Man was." - Jennings told TheBoot.com
Jennings premiered the track "Wild & Lonesome (Featuring.Patti Griffin)" on the 4th season of the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Followed by the release of first official single from the album "The White Trash Song (Featuring.Scott H. Biram)" which premiered on RollingStones.com along with the announcement that the album would be accompanied by a film.
The album featured seven new songs, as well as two cover songs (Harry Nilsson's "Flying Saucer song" and Steve Young's "The White Trash song") and Outlaw You, which was put out in early 2012 as a digital release.
Jennings along with filmmaker Blake Judd released The Other Life film. Running at 32 minutes long, it utilizes six of the songs from the album as a sort of narration. The film is about a musician leaving his family to tour, but when he does so he finds the road is not the same, and becomes haunted by a mysterious woman. Throughout the film, the musician is forced to face his darker urges and deal with self-discovery, temptation, isolation and rebirth. The film closes with an short adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.
The Other Life went on to win Best Short Film at the 2013 Horror Hound Festival.
Black Country Rock Media:
On October 2013 Jennings announced the formation of his new label and multi-format recording company, Black County Rock. Their initial releases included: A remastered releases of the Waylon Jennings album Right for the Time, two live albums, one from Jessi Colter titled "Live from Cain's Ballroom", and one from Shooter Jennings titled "The Other Live", as well as a recording of You Are My Sunshine featuring vocals from both Jamey Johnson and Shooter Jennings. All four were released in Viynl, cassette, Cd, as well as digitally.
On February 27, 2014, Jennings revealed he would be releasing a spoken word follow up to Hierophant's 2010 album, Black Ribbons, titled The Magic, inspired by first story in the controversially interactive horror series thirteen.
In addition to The Magic Jennings also announced, that after nearly a decade of waiting, he would be releasing the 1995 collaborative album, Fenixon.
Both projects were released during 2014's Record Store Day, and subsequently sold out.
Towards the end of May 2014, Jennings announced his intention to release two EP's later in the year, One is a tribute to his close friend and mentor George Jones entitled "Don't Wait Up (for George)" slated for an August 2014 release, and the other is a tribute to 70′s electronic music pioneer and producer, Giorgio Moroder, which is titled "Countach (for Giorgio)" which is set to be released mid November.
On June 3, 2014, Jennings released a single from both EP's. The George single, "Don't Wait Up (I'm Playin' Possum)" was an original piece which he wrote for George, but unfortunately Jones passed away before cutting the song. The single from the Georgio album is an experimental rock song titled "I'm Left. You're Right. She's Gone" not to be confused with the Elvis Presley song of the same name
In May 2012, Jennings announced via Twitter that he and musician Lukas Nelson (Son of Willie Nelson) were in the studio recording an album together. That same year Jennings announced his intention of producing a film based on his father's life and career.
Jennings posted a status on his official Facebook page during February 2014, stating he would be soon be collaborating with Billy Ray Cyrus on a future BCR release.
Jennings has produced albums and tracks for numerous bands including Hellbound Glory, Fifth on the Floor, Jason Boland & the Stragglers and Last False Hope, as well as Jessi Colter, Jamey Johnson, Wanda Jackson, Scott H. Biram, Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, Ron Jeremy and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license