Shooter Jennings explores the concept of truth, both figuratively and literally in his very artistic though definitely NOT country album, Black Ribbons.
Let’s take a walk with Shooter Jennings for a minute. We’ll stroll past all the preconceived notions of what his sound “should” be. We’ll pass over the bridge of country standby’s and outlaw western stereotypes, and at the end we’ll find an idea. An idea of truth. Truth to yourself as an artist. Truth to those who look to you for your insights. Truth about that which we do not wish to see. Shooter Jennings’ new album “Black Ribbons” takes you on that walk.
While it is most certainly NOT a country album, it is definitely a piece of art worth taking notice of. Black Ribbons is a concept album covering the idea of truth, the search for it, and the process of accepting that truth. To help express this concept, Shooter steps far outside the expectations of past fans and brings in some help in the form of a characterized narrator “Will O the Whisp” (played by none other than horror writer Stephen King) and a fictional band simply called “Hierophant”.
With the help of these voices, Black Ribbons tells a tale of the last night of free speech on public radio. The mood is melancholy and the music is a distant reminder of late 70’s psychotropic rock. You can hear traces of everything from David Bowie to Beatles and back to Black Oak Arkansas and even Ministry sifting through the politically laced lyrics. I personally found a lot of punk-era influence in it myself.
Again, I cite that this album is NOT country, but if you have an open mind to many forms of music, you will find that Shooters endeavors pay off in here in many of the same ways that Maynard James Keenan’s “Puscifer” project or even Rob Zombie’s fictional creation “Banjo & Sullivan”. Each of these true artists took leaps into a genre they are not known for, and landed with outrageous cult-like success. While the first seems a product of boredom and creativity, and the second a creation meant strictly as a movie role, they both have so completely sold the public on the authenticity and talent of their persona’s that they now manage to tour these groups almost as successfully as their main headlining acts, and I believe the same will happen with Jenning’s “Hierophant”.
Without further ado, let me give you a taste of what you are in for. Here is the debut video from “Black Ribbons”:
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant: Summer of Rage
“Tonight I’ve chosen to play the one band the American Fascicrats don’t want me to play. Tonight I’m going off the air with the music of Hierophant. For those of you not familiar, you’ll get a taste of Hierophant’s music tonight – their message, their light.”
-Will O’ The Wisp
“Summer of Rage” Official Video
Directed by: Drea de Matteo & Shooter Jennings
From the Album: Black RibbonsCountry Music Photo Gallery