January 12th, 2014 / Review by Kat Corbo
Red and Kat’s Mini Video of the Night: http://eb.tl/0a0bq
Sunday night we headed to Mojoe’s in Joliet to see Shooter Jennings play; his show was supposed to be on the fifth but due to the snow storm it was cancelled. We didn’t mind the later show (we got to stay in and practice our Johnny Cash and June Carter Karaoke) and the new date fit perfectly into our week of country: we saw Jamey Johnson on Friday and are planning on seeing Josh Thompson this Thursday. Waymore’s Outlaws which is Waylon Jenning’s original band members, opened for Shooter with Tommy Townsend taking over singing duties and playing guitar. They played an impressive set and then joined Shooter 20 minutes later as his band. We really appreciated them and their music; it felt honest and heartfelt. Throughout the entire night they all had smiles on their faces, and they played their instruments with true feeling. It was obvious they loved what they were doing, and their music proved that they were veterans in the industry.
When Tammy left me up front to take pictures, I made some friends around me. I met a group of hardcore Shooter fans who had traveled over four hours to see him that night. Knowing that they have seen him play over 20 times and hearing their favorite stories got me excited for the show, and Shooter definitely delivered. His set included songs like “A Hard Lesson to Learn,” “Gone To Carolina,” “4th of July” and “The Wolf,” pausing before it to mention his six year-old daughter and how much she loved that song. But besides that, Shooter didn’t speak to the crowd a lot, and instead he let his music do the talking.
Shooter’s songs varied in tempo, taking the crowd from slow head nodding to dancing and shouting out lyrics then back to quiet listening over and over again throughout the night. Just as you would start to lose yourself in the peaceful simplicity of the instruments along with Shooter’s rough-around-the-edges voice the band would pick back up, leaving you with no option but to move your feet and dance with the strangers around you. “Gunslinger” captured this best, pulling the entire crowd in, with everyone in the room singing along and smiling with their neighbors at the entertaining song.
When the band left the stage in the middle of the show, Shooter stood alone with just a microphone and an acoustic guitar. Towards the end of Shooter’s acoustic set we could see the band about ready to come back on stage, but Shooter looked at them and shook his head “no,” then came to the microphone once again to say how magical the room was that night, and asked the crowds permission to continue playing acoustically. A few songs later, one of the friends I made earlier turned to me and said, “I’ve never seen him play this long alone before.” I asked him if that was a good or bad thing and he responded with, “Neither, it is beautiful…I’m speechless.” And that statement sums up the night perfectly; Shooter played a magical set with simple, stoically beautiful music filling every inch of the room.