Family Man by Shooter Jennings
Nearly half this album references family, but the portrait presented here is hardly ideal—the Southern-rock-flavored “Southern Family Anthem” chronicles interfamily marriage, drug-addicted relatives and a grandmother who will go to the grave with a family secret.
In “The Real Me,” Shooter unapologetically lives a double life—upstanding father by day, bar-brawling drunk by night, singing, I’ll chase that nightmare until I die. “The Deed and the Dollar” is a refined country love song that’s more clever than cloying, with a thumping bass line reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s early work.
“Daddy’s Hands” recalls family Thanksgivings when the whole house smells like a big ashtray and conjures thoughts of father Waylon as Shooter sings, Come on daddy, one more Christmas / It ain’t your time to go. Amid melodic guitar work on “Summer Dreams,” Shooter yearns to escape the frustrations of urban living by throwing his phone off a bridge and leaving his briefcase behind.
Lyrically and musically, the songs stream effortlessly from accessible to intricate, creating an estimable country album with a steady undercurrent of blues and rock.