Shooter Jennings is no stranger to Kentucky. In fact, he is an advocate for some of Kentucky’s local singers, including Lexington’s Fifth on the Floor. He has had several projects over the last few years, but lately he has made a bold statement with his song “Outlaw You.”
In this modern day country music business, it seems like singers want to get some “extra cred” of their background. They want to proclaim themselves as an outlaw, even name their albums with the use of the name Outlaw. However, in reality, the only true outlaws in the country music world would be Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson. They stood their ground and did the music they believed in. What is even more interesting, they didn’t like to be branded as an outlaw.
On the female side of matters, you could perhaps add Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton for standing up in a man’s world and singing songs that the woman was truly feeling. They wrote and sang songs that spoke out on matters that women were going through back in the day and even now.
If there is anyone to speak out against the new “faux” outlaws, it would be Shooter Jennings, son of legendary Waylon Jennings. He’s been up against the wall with his own blend of country and rock music. In fact, for most, he isn’t relavent until the 4th of July as his tune of the same name is played as part of the selective patriotic tunes of the day. He’s been an innovator and an advocate of promoting the music that the corporate hands would not dare touch. It isn’t bad music – it is honest music with soul.
With Shooter Jennings “Outlaw You,” he calls out what is heard constantly through the airwaves and what has become cliche’ in songs. Look at the number of songs you hear namedropping Waylon, Cash, Hank to get that “I’m a country singer” cred. How many times can you describe the dirt road, being a redneck, drinking up, being tough, and you are country because you think you are. It isn’t hard to recognize who he is pointing a finger to in the song, and even in the video with blurred images of certain singers.
The song itself is strong in its message and Jennings vocals sing from the heart to make you know it is what he truly believes in. It is about time someone stands up to what we are hearing. In the words of Waylon Jennings – “Don’t you think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand?”
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.