Skip to main content

Album Review: Family Man by Shooter Jennings

Shooter Jennings' new album, Family Man, blends the classic Southern Rock sound we've come to expect since Put the "O" Back in Country with acoustic sounds.  This is the first time that Jennings has really reached back to the folk roots of country music.

The first single, "The Deed and the Dollar," has a thumping Waylonesque bass line, along with Shooter on acoustic guitar.  It's a sweet, heartfelt, love song, but there's also a lot of playfulness, even some straight goofiness, with Jennings throwing in little Southernisms like "She's finer than a frog hair split four ways."  Before this track, there's a couple of rock songs, almost forgettable, the guitar solo by Tom Morello on the second track really not adding much.  This short album really hits its stride from "The Deed and the Dollar" on, combining Southern Rock and folk elements in some pretty interesting ways.  "Manifesto No. 4" has gospel-style vocals and heavy, rocking guitars.  "Daddy's Hands," recalls the early death of Waylon Jennings in a sweet and tender ballad about the pain of having to watch a husband and father decline during his last days.  "Black Dog" is a sort of rambling tune about a mining accident.  Interesting the first time, though I did skip it during later listens.

"Southern Family Anthem" has music bloggers talking, what with its references to incest and murder.  I liked the honesty of the song.  Whether the lyrics are true or not is hardly the point.  This tune is ultimately about unconditional love.

Family Man is a clunky album.  But it also might be Shooter Jennings' best.  He's got another album from the same recording sessions coming out later this year.  We'll see how it compares.


Popular posts from this blog

Salvation, USA: A Not-Thrilling Thriller

Written by Bernie Van De Yacht and directed by Yacht and Brett Donowho, Salvation, USA is a thriller, sort of. It reminded me a lot of a Lifetime movie with a little sex and swearing. Until the finale, which gets all sorts of batshit violent and bloody. Ah, but advertising, eh? If you watch this movie after having seen the poster, you’ll end up wondering when the hell you’re going to see some violence, as violence is most clearly implied by the thing. And if you haven’t seen the poster, you’ll watch Salvation, USA and suddenly get weirded out when a pretty basic drama gets really freakin’ bloody by the end.

The movie concerns Vinnie (Ryan Donowho), a guy who seems passionate about fixing old stoves, restoring them to their former pristine states. But it’s all a ruse. Fixing the stoves is his launchpad for a long con. Donowho is a very charming actor, and so it’s not hard for the audience to be pretty damn hypnotized by his performance. We want to believe there’s good inside the guy. …

G Rated Horror: The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Legend of Boggy Creek was written by Earl E. Smith, but the whole thing represents the vision of director Charles B. Pierce. The story was pieced together from the tales of local residents from Fouke, Arkansas, some of whom appeared in Boggy Creek as themselves. The so-called Fouke Monster, basically a sasquatch, was a folk legend that residents claimed was real. Reports began to surface in newspaper articles around Arkansas in the early 70’s and they seized Smith’s imagination. He knew he had found the subject of his first feature film.

Pierce is an interesting character. A self-motivated guy with a ton of ambition, he worked as a weatherman and a children’s show host named Mayor Chuckles before starting his own advertising firm. He made commercials for all sorts of companies throughout Arkansas. The owner of a trucking company client loaned Pierce $100,000 to get started on shooting Boggy Creek. The film was an almost instant success in cheap movie theaters and drive-ins and it…

The Burning City: An Interview with Brian Diemar of MMII

I first heard the name Brian Diemar a few months ago, when I was looking around for information about Stephen Bier, formerly known as Madonna Wayne Gacy, or simply “Pogo.” He was the keyboard player for Marilyn Manson and seemed to have disappeared from public view since he left the group in 2007. Until a few months ago, the latest update on Pogo’s Wikipedia page said that he was “now a photographer.” So that was that.

Except that he had been making and producing music the entire time. And his major collaborator is Brian Diemar. Brian is a veteran lead guitar player and producer. Just prior to meeting Pogo he had left the band AM Conspiracy, a group he had formed with Jason Jones, the former lead singer of Drowning Pool. Pogo and Brian first collaborated by producing other bands under the name Faultline Productions. Shortly afterward, they began their collaboration with Hoss, a drummer who had played with the Exies and Mondo Generator. Together, the trio are MMII (pronounced “em em eye…