It’s no secret that over the years went from being huge Shooter Jennings fans to Shooter being one of our favorite punching bags. We don’t write very many negative reviews ‘round these parts, but when we do, the odds suggest that it’s probably a Shooter album we were writing about. In hindsight, it was starting to get mean spirited, but I honestly did not like those albums.

Family Man seems to have found Shooter a lot more centered in his life and the songs reflect that, while his sound has begun to drift back to that of his earlier albums. The album opens with “The Real Me,” which starts off with a classic country sound before breaking off into a chorus that’s a playful turn of words. To be honest, I didn’t like this song at first but after a few listens it’s begun to be one of my favorite tracks on the cd. Up next is a pretty contemporary tune, “The Long Road Ahead”, which features Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) and Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons). This song has been one of my favorite songs on the album from first listen and shows no signs of relenting. “The Deed and The Dollar”, the debut single off the album, is a touching tribute to Shooter’s wife which shows a more tender side that’s not seen too much in music these days. Some of the other standout tracks on the album include “Summer Dreams”, which would have been at home on any 80’s country radio station, and “The Family Tree”, which almost has a mid-70’s Jimmy Buffett feel to it.

My favorite song on the cd has to be “Daddy’s Hands”, which came along right at the perfect time. It’s no secret that my Dad’s sick and this song basically describes my reality right now and, if I’m being honest, when things aren’t going so well with him it’s difficult for me to listen to it.

In the end, the only song on the album that I outright dislike is “The Black Dog”, and everytime I listen to the album I wonder how it made it into the track listing. I guess what I’m saying is that the pendulem has swung back into the “pro-Shooter” camp and hopefully he won’t put out an industrial-rock album next.

If he does, at least we’ll have The Family Man, an album that I believe is Essential Listening.

Shooter Jennings – Daddy’s Hands
Shooter Jennings – The Long Road Ahead
Shooter Jennings – The Family Tree

Shooter Jennings’ Official Site, Shooter Jennings on Facebook, Shooter Jennings on Spotify, Buy Family Man


  1. Very nice review and I’m glad it gets the 9B approval.

    Black Dog was ok the first couple of times, but then it got annoying real fast. It slows the album down too much for my liking and the punch line of the ghost story isn’t that great. Other than that it’s a very enjoyable album indeed!

  2. I agree, “Daddy’s Hands” is a great song, and “Black Dog” was an unfortunate offering that should have been left on the cutting house floor. For me this album was a series of hit and misses, which is very similar to most of Shooter’s albums, and his career and other pursuits in general. Shooter’s tendency to put out really bad songs, like “Southern Family Anthem”, which is less bad as it is ripe to be massively misunderstood, really distract and detract from his A-list stuff. If he can figure out how to eliminate the big misses and polarizing songs, even if her replaces them with mediocrity or neutral songs, his music wouldn’t feel so anchored.

  3. Would you say that, “Black Dog” is an attempt at the talking blues or a least in that line? Someone brought that up and I’m just not that familiar with the format to say, but “Black Dog” does slow down the album as stated by Martin Luther Presley.

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