The 32-year-old son of Jessi Colter and the late Waylon Jennings is not exactly what you would call a mainstream country star, with only one #26-peaking chart hit from 2005 under his belt to date, and he may never be. Nonetheless, Shooter Jennings has attained a loyal following and critical acclaim even with near-nonexistent radio support. His new album Family Man will be released on March 17, with it being preceded by the single “The Deed and the Dollar.”
In an open nod to the musical stylings of dear old dad, the new Shooter Jennings single is a simple, instantly likeable 1970’s-style country music love song. It is easily identifiable as country music, with an arrangement featuring pedal steel and a lightly catchy bass drum beat. Though certain lyrics may scan as cheesy to the ears of some, Jennings sells the song with a breezy charm and sincerity – which, considering that the video shows that the song to be directed toward Jennings’ longtime girlfriend Drea de Matteo, is hardly surprising.
There are moments in which the lyrics seem to be groping for rhymes – For example: “We know we’re a good match/ That’s why at our hips we’re attached.” Fortunately, Jennings’ plain-spoken delivery along with the throwback production covers it so ably that one hardly notices. Even when Jennings declares that his woman is “finer than frog hair split four ways,” it seems to make perfect sense. While a few borderline-hokey lines may be a turnoff to some ears, the creative rhyming schemes give the song a distinct identity, and help it to stand out from the crowd. Though “The Deed and the Dollar” is composed of some seemingly rudimentary ingredients, all the goodness adds up to a single worth more than the sum of its parts.
While it’s hard to imagine this song being embraced by country radio, there’s no denying that it would impart some much-needed musical variation and good old-fashioned sincerity to the current country music landscape. At any rate, if “The Deed and the Dollar” is indicative of anything, Family Man is bound to be a keeper.