Outlaw Country and Southern Rock mastermind, Shooter Jennings hit the stage at Stubb’s Waller Creek on Thursday June 9th, opening for the Old 97’s to a packed venue at the dusty-aired amphitheater. Considered one of the few true outlaw country musicians left, Jennings rocked the stage with a raspy voice and bone to pick with today’s pop-country super-stars, proving that not all of country music has forgotten its rockier, blues roots.
From hard hitting lyrics to wailing guitar licks this Nashville born artist had the crowd kicking up dirt and swaying to his southern rock-a-billy rhythms. Jennings graced Stubb’s with songs from his debut album Put the “O” Back in Country, released in 2005 under the label Universal Southern Records, to his newest release in 2016 Countach (For Giorgio), a homage to Jennings’ mentor, the late great George Jones, under his own label Black Country Rock. With songs about being wild at heart, these hard hitting country chords reminded me of younger days spent in a pickup truck speeding down swampy dirt roads with the muggy bayou breeze blowing out my hair and a pretty lady in the passenger seat. Yes, even I have a little of that wild southern country blood in my veins thanks to my Louisiana-born badass of a mother. Yet, I digress.
On a side-note, for those eager to expand their skepticism, might I suggest taking a journey with Jennings into the deep, dark societal secrets and cover-ups on his latest audio series, Beyond The Black. The series features Jennings’ analytical narratives into the topics that inspired his 2010 album, Black Ribbons, combined with the synth-driven, dystopian psychedelia of said project.
The Dallas-native headliners, the Old 97’s, took the stage to a roaring applause and a little hootin’ n’ hollerin’. These self-proclaimed folk-rockers are no strangers to the Austin atmosphere and their loyal fan-base made that clear from the opening.
Wide-stanced bassist Murry Hammond, highly energized lead vocalist Rhett Miller, and scorching rock-infused guitarist Ken Berthea, danced across the stage in such a manner that it seems the 20 + years of touring hasn’t taken a toll on body or mind. With eleven studio albums and countless side projects these alternative rockers haven’t slowed a bit. Their latest album, Graveyard Whistling, released in February of this year under the label ATO Records, is already a huge hit with tracks like “Good With Good” featuring Brandi Carlile, “Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls”, “Drinkin’ Song”, and my personal favorite “All Who Wander”. Grab a bottle of whiskey, a pack of smokes, and get ready to remember the days when being young and reckless was a way of life instead of just fond memories on a moonlit night.
Photos and article by: Demetrius Judkins