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Shooter Jennings And The .357ís - Live at Irving Plaza 4.18.06

Released on Universal South, 10/10/06

With all the talk of the longtail concept of success there are still a limited number of artists who have made a name for themselves with the help of the wide-open playing field that on-line distribution options allow. When Little Steven Van Zandt launched his Underground Garage show on Sirius Satellite Radio as an outgrowth of his late 90s garage rock showcase, Cavestomp (and side project to his bill paying gigs with Bruuuce and Tony Soprano) it seemed like a quaint attempt at self promotion but little else.

However, Van Zandt has succeeded on a grand level and the Garage has grown to the point where it is sponsoring one of this fallís coolest tours -- The New York Dolls first outing in over 30 years -- has its own line of merchandise, and has a devout and growing following. About a year ago it spawned a successful spin-off in the form of the Outlaw Country radio show, which, as with its predecessor, mines the vaults for gritty musical gems and hires niche hipster personalities to spin them, this time with a country fried twist.

Outlaw Country is the radio version of Hogs and Heifers, the NYC bar that promotes a country version of bad behavior, taking your bra off and throwing it at someone for instance. Itís a place where wannabe shit kickers can listen in on, as the web site says, the freaks, misfits, outcasts, rebels and renegades of country music. We are not surprised to see that roots rock retardo Mojo Nixon has resurfaced here with a daily show.

Along with Mojo and Hillbilly Jim (did you catch his Thanksgiving Throwdown?), bad boy progeny Shooter Jennings also mans the satellite for a couple of hours a week. Jennings is of course the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter and as such has a pedigree that involves a lot of Jack Daniels and, we presume, conversations that start with "Listen here motherf*cker." Jennings Jr. has been rocking out since a teen. For almost a decade he played the L.A. rock circuit in a G-N-R like concoction called Stargunn before embracing his legacy and putting together a new band, the .357ís, and heading out to bring the world the raunchy swagger of country rock.

Live At Irving Plaza 4.18.06 is the third release from the band and itís a solid retelling of some of the more appealing songs from Shooterís two studio releases. At the same time itís a co-branded marketing vehicle for Sirius and Little Steven. Van Zandt introduces the gig with a shout out to Sirius and Outlaw Country and reminds us that the show is going out live via satellite. The CD package has a nice big Sirius logo and a line about Jennings' radio job on it. However, as with music products that Starbucks shills, the quality here is better than average; Sirius has chosen an appealing personality to get behind.

Once Silvio has done his job the .357ís do theirs and the result is great fun. The band borrows from the Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and BTO playbooks in equal measure and Shooterís L.A. experiences bring a darkness to the music that obviously came from questionable activities on Sunset Blvd. Along with a lot of slide guitar we get a couple of slower ones for the ladies and the requisite a cappella sing along. Put it on at your next BBQ and watch your usually Coldplay loving pal knock back a BPR and play along on air guitar.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars