Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
The lonesomeness howls through Shooter Jennings' songs. It might not even be actual lonesomeness, but it's what it feels like. A man can always find meaningless things to fill his life with, but the lonesomeness will always find a way to bleed through. There's a barren kind of existence that he taps into that will make you hurt like he does. It's this sense that everything's been dampened and that wherever he's going home to will be empty, or empty-ish.
He's been cavorting with illusions and with memories that are never going to have any kind of physical consistency and even the people who might be around when he arrives aren't going to rush into his arms. They may shrug. They're going to be the curses that he will always recognize, the way a bartender nods hard at a regular, with little spoken between them after the napkin's slid down onto the bar and the man's been asked, "What'll you have?" The man tipping the drink back might not deserve all of the hardship that he's been dealt, but a good chunk of it was warranted. It was courted.
Jennings, the son of the late, great Waylon Jennings, writes the tales of those men who have not made it easy on themselves. They've habitually done wrong and had it rough, though the damage need not be so long-lasting, in their opinion. It could fade a little and give them some slack now and again, but either way, this is what they deal with and they've gotten okay with managing the chipped teeth, the sucker punches, the deserved aggravation and the shattered windows that make up their days.