When I first asserted that Shooter Jennings was quitting country music, there were some that said good riddance, others saying “say it ain’t so,” some that outright disagreed with the premise that Shooter could do such a thing, and a few who were looking forward to this potentially new direction. There were also some hoping that I would have to eat those words.
Well as we all have been hypothesizing about where the son of Waylon Jennings is headed, the son himself has been on tour. Recently some videos surfaced of Shooter playing at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA.
If this doesn’t help explain which direction Shooter is headed with his new band “Hierophant,” I don’t know what will:
Early reports were that Shooter’s new sound was similar to Radiohead, and that is what this reminds me a lot of. This is how the show started, with “Wake Up!”:
If this is where Shooter’s passion lies, then I applaud his format change. Nobody should be or try to be anything they are not, regardless of the expectations fans or other people put on them. But Shooter and his fans have to understand that this opens the door to further criticism from the Shooter haters that his heart was never into country music; that it was an act. My guess is the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It is hard for me to listen to Put the O Back in Country and say there is no passion there.
This also has nothing to do with rock vs. country. I am a rock fan too, as are many REAL country fans. I’ve said before that I might have a better chance enjoying Shooter’s rock stuff than I do some of his later “country” stuff, simply because he will do it with true passion. The criticism of Shooter lies in the identity crisis he is going through and questions about his passion for country, not that somehow rock is bad, or anybody that goes from country to rock is selling out or something.
Every artist should pursue other forms of music if that is something they are passionate about. But since Shooter is pursuing rock INSTEAD of country, as opposed to just pursuing it as a side project, or even keeping the country thing going on as a side project, he has open himself up for that criticism.
Another thing that I think would serve Shooter and his fans better if he would put more info out there about what direction he’s headed.
Also for those of you wondering, apparently the lineup of Hierophant is in essence the same as the Shooter’s country band, the .357’s, just a change a lead guitar, which has been a revolving position in the band for a while now. And for whatever criticisms people have of Shooter, if you ask me, the .357’s (or now Hierophant) is one of the best backing bands out there.
Also thanks to Steve ODB for doing a good job filming this footage and posting it to help shed light of Shooters new direction.