Shooter Jennings

Electric Rodeo

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In a recent interview, Shooter Jennings claimed that Electric Rodeo was actually recorded before Put the "O" Back in Country, which was released first. Sonically, Electric Rodeo is louder, rawer, more upfront rock & roll than its predecessor, though there are solid, old-school country tunes here as well: the wild fiddle stomp of "Manifesto No. 2," and the broken love song "Aviators," with its spoken word intro and whinnying pedal steel. But as the title suggests, for the most part, Electric Rodeo is a hardcore, roaring country-rock record. Jennings' band -- Leroy Powell on guitar, Brian Keeling on drums, and Ted Kamp on bass with Robby Turner on steel, and backing vocals by no less than Bonnie Bramlett -- are a crack crew. They swagger and slither and stomp, but they know how to whisper, too. On tracks such as the title, "Little White Lines," "Bad Magick," and the jet-propelled swamp funk of "Alligator Chomp" -- with a guest vocal by Tony Joe White -- Jennings uses angular Texas blues, hard rock/arena rock dynamics -- complete with Mac Truck volume guitars -- tight, big whomp drums, and the almighty riff to get his hell-raising message across. There are also some more outlaw country-styled cuts such as "It Ain't Easy," "Goin' to Carolina," "Some Rowdy Women," "The Song Is Still Slipping Away," and "Hair of the Dog." They recall the brand of historic country music Jennings' father helped to pioneer in the 1970s. The term "outlaw" is simply a musically descriptive word now; it's not meant to be a millstone around Shooter's neck -- even though he directly references Waylon often (and let's face it, if anyone has a right to do that, it's him). Electric Rodeo is solid; it's full of ragged road poetry, defiant rowdyism, and restless, rust-stained, country-soul, with plenty of its own charisma.

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