Six years ago, Shooter Jennings, son of outlaw-country legend Waylon, ditched Nashville for Los Angeles and rock-and-roll dreams with his band, Stargunn. It wasn't long before the past caught up with him; recent years have seen Jennings reclaim his country roots, which he says has as much to do with his father's passing in 2002 as his own passing of time. "I started listening to so much country--the Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams Srs. --that I realized, 'God, we can't play [rock] music like this,'" Jennings says. "I knew what our limitations were."
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Not to say his stint in rock didn't have an impact--his solo debut, Put the O Back in Country, is meant to make as much of an outlaw statement as his father made with his own career. "Right now, country's saturated with pop acts," Jennings says. "It happened with rock too. You had Led Zeppelin, then, 10 years later, everyone was fucking Whitesnake. The machine just grabs onto something. Unfortunately, Garth Brooks made country music turn into this fucking big explosion onstage, flying around, more about the show than about the music. It lost something along the way. So I'm just saying, come on, where are the Merles, the Waylons and the Willies? Bring back the energy, the realness, the characters, the people."