July 12--Being the son of Waylon Jennings, one of country music's most loved outlaws, likely comes with a lot of expectations from some folks.
But Waylon "Shooter" Jennings has worked hard to blaze his own trails through the world of music, as well as life. The singer-songwriter has penned and played psychedelic rock, and the style of rock that's generated below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Of course, with country music in his DNA, Jennings certainly knows how to play that genre as well. His first album, released in 2005, is titled "Put the 'O' Back in Country."
Jennings is on the road with his Gunslinger Tour in support of his new album, "The Other Life." He will be performing with his band tonight at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville.
Appearing with Jennings will be Virginia-raised Cody Purvis. This well might be the opportunity to see the 19-year-old country music singer at the start of a career that sooncould see him transformed into a major star among the glitter set in Nashville.
Purvis' song "Rednecks in the Ryman" is about staying true to traditional country music. When he belted out the song on the stage of the historic Ryman Auditorium this past January, he got a standing ovation from people who know what real country music is.
When country music superstar George Jones died recently, Purvis posted the following comment on his website:
"We lost a legend today," Purvis wrote. " 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?' If you've been to my shows, you know that I am a traditional country music lover. I will continue to sing songs by George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty, to name a few. I can't fill their shoes, but I can sing their songs. RIP George Jones."
The fact that Jennings has a person with Purvis' show-stealing talent on the same bill suggests a few things. First, that he's plenty confident of his own talent; secondly, that he's sincere about keeping real country music alive; and that he is willing to give a young singer a helping hand.
In addition to creating five albums of his own, Jennings has produced albums for a number of bands, including Fifth on the Floor, Hellbound Glory and Last False Hope. And while doing all this, he has remained his own man, which is something that would have made his late father proud.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Doug Gill has the distinction of having taught an 8-year-old Shooter how to throw a Frisbee. That came about during a visit to the senior Jennings' Brentwood, Tenn., home.
"I was over at the house to pitch some songs," Gill said recently via telephone from his home near Nashville. "Waylon wasn't home, but his wife, Jessi Colter, and Shooter were there.
"At that age, Shooter was fairly quiet, studious. Artistic, too, as he was always sketching. Now [that Jennings is] a grown man, I would say he's holding up the family name well. I've never heard anything derogatory about him.
"He goes out and represents himself -- and, I think, he represents his dad's legacy -- very well. As far as I know, he doesn't play a lot of Waylon Jennings' songs. He plays a couple, but he's got his own music, which is much more edgy and much more rock and roll than his dad's music."
Gill recently wasnominated for a Grammy Award for his song "I Just Come Here For the Music," which has been recorded by Don Williams and Alison Krauss. After more than 30 years in the music industry, he knows how the gears work, and he doesn't use the word "admire" without good cause.
"Shooter's father was famous for being real independent about his music," Gill said. "He was like, 'I want my music to be done my way, and I don't care what the producers say.'
"He had a lot of famous fights because of wanting to be independent. I know Shooter has had to do some of that, too.
"He had to say, 'No, no, we're going to do it this way.' I admire that. And he doesn't trade on his family name at all. He stands on his own two feet."
Shooter Jennings and Cody Purvis will be performing tonight at the Jefferson Theater. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $20.
and Cody Purvis
with Chris Adams
7:45 this evening; doors open at 7 p.m.
Jefferson Theater on Downtown Mall
$20; $18 advance
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