Shooter Jennings & the .357s: Bad Magick

"I don't wanna be a legend / I just wanna be a man," Shooter Jennings sings on "Living Proof," a Hank Williams Jr. cover and one of two previously unreleased songs on Bad Magick, which otherwise rounds up the best of Jennings's three studio albums starting with 2005's Put the "O" Back in Country. The song is an obvious fit for Shooter: Alongside Bocephus, he inherited one of Nashville's most formidable legacies when father Waylon passed away in 2002, which he embraces wholeheartedly on the grateful "It Ain't Easy." Elsewhere, he juices his dad's gruff yet tender-hearted style with lots of sex ("Manifesto No. 1"), drugs ("Busted in Baylor County") and rock and roll, from the exhilarating open-air travelogue of "4th of July" to ten-minute live firestorm "Daddy's Farm," where his roots in L.A. hard rockers Stargunn explode all over Sirius/XM Radio's New York studios. Thirty years old next month, Jennings is already a road-dog lifer, which shows up in his songwriting (the Skynyrd-like "Southern Comfort"), cover choices (Dire Straits' "Walk of Life") and guests ("Ragin' Cajun" Doug Kershaw on "This Ol' Wheel"; The Oak Ridge Boys on "Slow Train"). A best-of compilation after only three albums might seem a little ballsy, but Bad Magick is 14 songs of R-rated, Southern-fried outlaw country-rock that would make Shooter's daddy right proud.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray