Shooter Jennings and the 357s

By Brandy Simpson

It was a Saturday night at Headliners Music Hall, the smoke was thick, the music honky-tonk and loud. The band: Shooter Jennings and The 357s. Let me get it out of the way: yes, Shooter Jennings is the son of outlaw country music legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. Yes, I'm aware of what a big deal that is but, let's go on and let Shooter J. stand on his own. Right after the openers, The Ladybirds.

This was my first time hearing or seeing The Ladybirds and I gotta say I've been missing out. People had been telling me how good they were and the people were right. The front lady Sarah's vocals made me think of Wanda Jackson. The music was great especially when they sped it up a bit. This is a band you should look for. Check out their myspace page at

Next up were local honky-tonk heroes Johnny Berry and The Outliers. Berry has quite a stage presence and of the best voices I've heard in a long time. Backed by an incredibly accomplished band, with some songs he wrote and a few he didn't, they took hold of the audience and didn't let go. With songs from both their CD's, Shoot, Darn, Yeah and the latest, Fegenbush Farm, plus a cover of a great John Anderson's "Black Sheep Of The Family," I don't know it could have been any better. Go to their myspace page or check out

Finally, the headliner, Shooter Jennings: this guy has talent with or without that last name. Shooter and The 357s have a Southern rock sound that is all their own. I have seen these guys six or seven times and have never been disappointed. This show was no exception.

With Ted Russell Kamp on bass, Leroy Powell on guitar and crying pedal steel and Bryan Keeling beating the drums, The 357s give Jennings a tight, professional band to front. The crowd all sang along to songs from Put The O Back In Country and the latest Electric Rodeo. Shooter always plays one of his daddy's songs; this time we got to hear "Lonesome, O'nry and Mean," written by Steve Young. We also got to hear a cover of "Outlaw Women" that would make Hank Jr. proud.

The crowd begged for more even after they came out and played a few extra. We just couldn't get enough. Most of the people there were already fans of S.J. and the 357s and those who came there not knowing what to expect left knowing they had just witnessed something great. Check out and also .