“You can’t deny that one,” is an old Southern-ism used to point out a strong resemblance between parent and child. Late, great country music icon Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter certainly couldn’t deny their son, 25-year-old Shooter Jennings. From Shooter’s jet-black mane and scruffy beard right down to his birth name of Waylon Albright Jennings (for his dad and longtime drummer Ritchie Albright), it’s little wonder that he was cast to play his father in the new Sun-era Johnny Cash biopic I Walk the Line.


Though bristling with renegade spirit and high energy, the music created by Shooter and his band, The 357s, doesn’t immediately recall his dad’s brand of rough-and-ready Texas country. It’s got definite country roots, but the sound is more in step with mid-’70s Southern rockers. The kinship shared by those woolly guitar groups and the “outlaw” movement of the same time frame figures heavily on Jennings’ debut release, Put the “O” Back in Country.

“[The album’s title] is intended to be tongue-in-cheek,” Jennings says. “Don’t get me wrong — I love country music. But it’s just been so serious the last couple of years, there really hadn’t been much of an edge to it.”

Though he good-heartedly ribs the Nashville establishment, Jennings knows that his ideal fanbase is split between those who grew up with albums like his dad’s Honky Tonk Heroes and country’s younger post-Garth demographic. Lately, he’s been playing to stadium-sized crowds of all ages, opening for Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack, one of the genre’s most acclaimed female performers. It’s an opportunity he feels is a step in the right direction.

“I’ll admit that I wasn’t that familiar with a whole lot of [Keith’s] stuff before they brought us along,” says Jennings. “But he and his crew have been wonderful to us so far.”

Jennings’ yen for classic country and redneck rock isn’t entirely exclusive to the stage. Earlier this year, he began hosting Shooter Jennings’ Electric Rodeo, a two-hour program that airs Saturday and Sunday nights on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Outlaw Country channel. The format allows him to pontificate at will while plowing through his personal music stash. It also situates him among an absolutely surreal cast of honorary jockeys including wily songwriter “Cowboy” Jack Clement, cult rocker Mojo Nixon, and former WWF wrestling star Hillbilly Jim.

“I gravitate toward a lot of ’60s and ’70s country and classic heavy-rock,” Shooter says. “I’m a big Allmans fan, a big Skynyrd fan. Everything from Traffic and Black Sabbath to Tompall [Glaser] and David Allen Coe appeals to me.”

Shooter Jennings shares the stage with Kevn Kinney at the Music Farm on Fri. Nov. 4.