Music

| June 01, 2005

Shooter Jennings’ latest album.

Put the “O” Back in Country – Shooter Jennings
Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s boy certainly has the genes to be a superstar. Shooter Jennings’ inevitable debut has been a critic’s joy to listen to. The jeans-wearing crooner is different but dang good!

Jennings brings in pals George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. on this record. The single “4th of July” has shades of Mellencamp and Steve Earle in it, but Shooter paints his own picture with the rocker. “Busted in Baylor County,” about being jailed for speeding and smoking, is the young outlaw’s own. His blending of Southern rock and hillbilly is refreshing. And he even gets to display a sense of humor with “Manifesto No. 1,” in which sex and Jesus share equal time. Welcome to the Outlaws, second generation. A-


Songs About Me – Trace Adkins
Long, tall Trace Adkins is one of contemporary country’s strongest, most powerful recording singers. Two of his albums have sold more than a million copies each, even without the kind of radio play afforded to “stars” that sell in smaller volume. Truckers loved the 2002 “Chrome” music video, which featured a shiny, polished rig.

Adkins’ new Songs About Me hit No. 1 in its first week on the Billboard country chart, and its title track/first single is a predictable, up-tempo song that has gotten substantial radio attention. The strutting “Bring It On” is fantastic, and the sobering small-town tale of “Metropolis” and an atypical soldier’s story called “Arlington” make this latest CD a must. A


Kerosene – Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert’s debut album recalls more than it reveals. The 21-year-old’s drawling Texas voice is quite similar to the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, but this Lone Star lady comes without the political baggage. A Nashville Star first-season runner-up, pretty little Miranda’s Kerosene is setting Nashville on fire.

Lambert wrote or co-wrote all but one of these songs when she was still not old enough to legally purchase a beer, and there are some lyrics that she’ll likely outgrow in the coming years. “Me and Charlie Talking” is the teenagey hit debut single from the album. “Bring Me Down,” along with the slinky, bluesy stuff such as “I Wanna Die” and the honky-tonk gem “I Can’t Be Bothered” make this disc a real barnburner. B+


Get Right With the Man – Van Zant
Brothers Johnny and Donnie Van Zant are noted musicians, songwriters and performers, individually and as a duo. Perhaps you know the Jacksonville, Fla., duo from their work with Lynyrd Skynyrd and 38 Special. Now, the brothers are striking out with a Nashville major label (Sony) to promote their notable sound.

The brothers’ self-titled project will have country, rock and Southern rock music fans cranking up the volume across the land. In the immortal words of their late, great brother Ronnie Van Zant: “Turn It Up!” The debut single “Help Somebody” made a strong debut on the Billboard chart. The brothers wrote six of the 11 tracks on the disc. “Takin’ Up Space” and “Sweet Mama” are sizzling. B

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