James Minchin III
Shooter Jennings most recent album is called "The Wolf."

Shooter Jennings is loving life. The solo artist, who happens to be the son of Jessi Colter and the late Waylon Jennings, has his musical plate full.

In addition to joining Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam, he released a new album, did a track for the new Oak Ridge Boys release, hit a bunch of late-night TV talk shows and revamped the line-up of his band, the .357s.

"It's been crazy busy," Jennings said in a phone call from New York City. "We didn't think we would have time to do the Volunteer Jam, but we talked about it amongst ourselves and decided to do it."

Other than opening for living legend Charlie Daniels, Jennings likes being able to hit the stage, play the gig and take the rest of the night off, he said.

"We can do whatever we want after the 30-minute slot," he said, laughing. "We can watch the other bands or hang out and party."

Regardless, Jennings said being on the Daniels tour is a great honor.

"Charlie and his band have been great to us," he said. "They treat us nice. He's a real gentleman. We hope we're doing his tour justice."

Speaking of justice, earlier this month he and his mother were asked by Rage Against the Machine guitarist and "Guitar Hero" boss, Tom Morello, to join the Justice Tour. While Jennings and Colter couldn't swing the whole tour, they played a couple of dates.

"That was the most fun my mom and I have had in a long time," Jennings said. "Ben Harper, Wayne Kramer and Perry Farrell were on the show, too. It was amazing to see these people do what they do. It was a total jam session show."

Joining the band on stage were new guitarist Cooley Read and steel slide guitarist Gordo Hartin, who replaced Leroy Powell and Robby Turner, respectively.

"I've known Cooley forever," Jennings said. "And Gordo just came in and blew us all away. Leroy and Robby are still part of our family, but they have their own lives they need to live."

Still, Powell and Turner can be heard on Jennings' most recent album, "The Wolf."

"We had to choose 13 of the 20 songs we had written for the album," Jennings said. "But we felt we chose the best 13 out of the bunch.

"This was a very personal album for me. The songs were all wrapped up in my emotions as an individual and as part of the group.

"It was also the most country-sounding album we have ever done," he added. "And, now that we did that, we can wash our hands and move on to the next phase. And that is yet to be determined."


E-mail: scott@desnews.com