Shooter Jennings has his dog to thank for his new album, Black Ribbons. The French bulldog that belongs to Jennings and actress girlfriend Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives) is unable to fly, so the couple and their young daughter relocated from New York to L.A. via a cross-country RV trip.
Along the way, Jennings soaked up a lot of Sirius/XM satellite radio — where he also helms the Saturday-evening Electric Rodeo program on Outlaw Country — and George Nouri's overnight occult/conspiracy sounding board Coast to Coast AM. Throw in some tarot-card imagery, psych-rock à la Vancouver's Black Mountain, a dash of Shooter's own heavy twang ("God Bless Alabama," named after his daughter) and guest commentary from Stephen King as Will 'o the Wisp, the Last Free DJ in America, and you've got Black Ribbons.
Last week Chatter caught up with Jennings, still yawning and bleary from a Tonight Show appearance the night before, shortly before he left on tour.
Chatter: It sounds like maybe bands like Black Mountain had some effect on this record. Who else?
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Shooter Jennings: Black Mountain, yeah, that's a great band. Shoot. It's like Neil Young to Blue Öyster Cult to...I was absorbing a lot of music at the time. Everything from modern stuff to really old records; it's just kind of where I was. I was doing a lot of listening to the radio, the Deep Tracks channel — that's one of my favorite channels on the Sirius/XM dial. I can listen to the radio all day and then flip over to Coast to Coast AM at 10 p.m. Deep Tracks and The Verge, which is this unsigned channel. They play a lot of Canadian bands. That's where I heard Black Mountain for the first time.
C: The date on this supposed broadcast (12/22/12) is fairly significant. Do you put any stock in these 2012 theories that are circulating right now?
SJ: I don't think anything's going to happen in 2012. I think, if anything, the theory involving it being the end of an era makes sense to me. But I think there's a million things that could possibly happen in our lifetime, and I'm just hoping that none of them do. I kind of imagine this record taking place in 2013, not too far off, but just far off enough to prove that nothing happened in 2012.
C: Stephen King's commentary reminds me a little bit of his Dark Tower series. Is that what you had in mind?
SJ: Man, that's so funny. I've actually been going back and reading that series. I read it when I was really young. When I reached out and got ahold of Stephen King, I gave him my superfan spiel, which included the Dark Tower series. But I wanted to go back and read those books. Those are just awesome books — the whole Western, magic, Lord of the Rings kind of thing that's going on in those books is just right up my alley. Cowboys and magic and craziness.
Spring is here, and Discovery Green's (1500 McKinney) music calendar is in full swing. Saturday, the Green turns into a giant outdoor dance club from noon to 10 p.m. with headliner Joaquin "Joe" Claussel, the deep-house DJ and remixer (Ananda Project, Nina Simone) behind New York's popular Sunday-afternoon "Body & Soul" parties, along with NYC trio Tortured Soul, Chicago's Boo Williams and several local spinners (Ceeplus Bad Knives, Jessica Lozano, Little Martin, Sasha Braverman, Jaekim) on the side stage. The Wednesday lunchtime "Blues & Burgers" matinee, with music from noon to 1:30, continues through the end of the month with Steve Krase & the In Crowd (April 14), Little Joe Washington (April 21) and Earl Gilliam (April 28). Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m., the Four Seasons presents Two Star Symphony (April 11), jazz explorers The Julian Jaynes (April 18) and Beetle (April 25). Finally, the Thursday-evening "Concerts on the Green" series kicks off May 6 with zydeco scion C.J. Chenier. All events are free; for information and a complete schedule, visit www.discoverygreen.com.
Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272,
1. She & Him, Vol. 2
2. Via Audio, Animalore
3. Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
4. Jimi Hendrix, Valleys of Neptune
5. White Stripes, Under Great White Northern Lights
6. Various Artists, Crazy Heart Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
7. Vampire Weekend, Contra
8. Goldfrapp, Head First
9. Len Price 3, Pictures
10. Pavement, Quarantine the Past
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Selections from Rosa, Scott and Burton's April 1 playlist
1. The Monks, "Monk Time"
2. Electric Prunes, "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night"
3. The Mirrors, "Hand In Pockets"
4. The Dictators, "Faster and Louder"
5. Pretty Things, "Midnight to Six Man"
6. The Stooges, "No Fun"
7. Born Liars, "Go Back One Day"
8. Balaclavas, "Vuitton"
9. Agent Orange, "Bloodstains"
10. Vivian Girls, "I'm Not Asleep"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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