Happy Birthday Shooter Jennings: Singer, Songwriter, and Son of Outlaw Legends

by Clayton Edwards
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Shooter Jennings is the only son of Outlaw Country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. When he came into the world, his name was Waylon Albright Jennings. However, within his first moments of life, he earned the nickname that sticks with him to this day. Before they could get the diaper on the newborn Jennings, he peed on a nurse. His dad, laughing, said, “Looks like we have a shooter here!” The name stuck and the story began.

Shooter Jennings’ pedigree is enough to make him notable. After all, he’s the son of a musical pioneer. One of the first people to hold him after he was born, other than his folks, was Johnny Cash. Shooter was raised by people that we, as country music fans, idolize. However, that’s not where his story ends. He is infinitely more than the son of Outlaw royalty. So, to celebrate his 42nd birthday, we’re going to look at a few of his accomplishments.

Shooter Jennings the Musician

Shooter Jennings’ career as a musician spans the spectrum of genres. He has some country albums. Shooter also has some industrial stuff. He has never been one to be pigeonholed. Jennings makes the music that he wants to make. You could call it a rebellious streak. Hell, you could call it artistry in its realest form. Any way you look at it, he does his own thing.

According to an interview with Spin Magazine, it wasn’t classic country that set Shooter Jennings on his way as a musician. It was the 90s industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. He first heard them in the eighth grade. However, he started his musical journey at a much younger age. He started playing piano at 18 months old. At five he started playing drums. Two years later he was programming drums. He was surrounded by music and musicians as a child. So, it just came naturally to him.

Shooter Jennings released his first album, Put the “O” Back in Country in 2005. That album brought Shooter his only entry on the Billboard Country charts. The lead single “4th of July,” peaked at number 22 on the singles chart. The album version of that song features a cameo by the late great George Jones.

Since then, Shooter has released eight more full-length albums and one EP.

Shooter Scores Behind the Board

As a musician, Shooter Jennings has an eclectic collection of sounds. However, that’s nothing compared to the variety of albums he has produced. Shooter has sat behind the board for Brandi Carlile, American Aquarium, Tanya Tucker, Marilyn Manson, and more.

Shooter Jennings has produced two Grammy-winning albums. In 2020, his production work helped Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’ take home Best Country Album. He also worked with Dave Cobb, his longtime collaborator, and close friend, on Brandi Carlile’s By the Way, I Forgive You. That record won Best Americana Album last year.

Shooter Jennings also produced American Aquarium’s Lamentations which was their first number-one album.

To top it all off, he’s a good dude. Everyone from Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to Brandi Carlile have all talked about his character. Brandi Carlile told Spin, “You’ll never hear anyone talk bad about Shooter. He can get along with everyone, and even if you find a problem with someone, Shooter will always have something good to say about them. That’s rare.”

Happy birthday, Shooter. Here’s to many more.

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