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Shooter Jennings

Put the O Back in Country

Can't think of a time when I've heard a country CD as, well, postmodern as this one. By postmodern country, I don't mean KILT-friendly schlock like Tim McGraw -- I mean this CD, which fairly defines what I am thinking of.

Which is this: While it purports to be reverential of 100 percent solid country gold, it's chock-full of lame classic rock influences -- Foghat/BTO riffage and crap like that. There's also a couple of naughty ditties about weed -- very 21st century honky-tonk, fellers. There are a couple of hip-hop-like skits featuring George Jones and Hank Jr., some country gospel touches complete with the once-daring black backup choir, and lots of quirky, stonerish instrumentation and weird guitar sounds and occasional vocal effects. What's more, Shooter -- the son of Waylon Jennings -- oozes enough self-confidence to fully qualify as downright smug.

Here's what it isn't: possessed of real country feeling or memorable songs or hooks.

Pretty definitive of the whole album, "4th of July" is a rock song (specifically, a hard-edged rip-off of the Byrds) about being burned out on rock and singing along to George Jones. How 2K5! How cornpone ironic! How certain to please the scribes at The Village Voice and The New York Times!

And sadly, the short sample of Jones singing at the end of the tune is easily the disc's high point. Shooter Jennings may want to put the O back in country, but I just want to put this CD back on the shelf.

 
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