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Left Lane: Waylon Jennings

Tribute album set for February release

January 19, 2012
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

TEN?YEARS after his death, the music of Waylon Jennings

lives on.

Proclaimed anti-establishment in the early 1970s by the more conservative members of Music City in Nashville, Jennings has been termed the quintessential Outlaw of country music, a label he not only embraced but ran with during a remarkable recording and performing career which produced 60 albums, 16 No. 1 singles, two Grammys and four Country Music Association awards.

While on the grounds of Jamboree in the Hills last summer, I encountered an authentic Nashville cat and self-proclaimed Jennings devotee who spoke of a series of tribute collaborations to the man whose life could well have ended tragically if not for a surreal twist of fate.

As a fledgling young guitarist, Jennings was hired by the legendary Buddy Holly to play bass during a 1958 winter tour which included rising pop stars Ritchie Valens ('La Bamba') and J. P Richardson, also known as The Big Bopper.

The band boarded a plane Feb. 3, 1959 in Iowa bound for Fargo, N.D., but with limited capacity, Jennings offered his seat to Richardson. Shortly after takeoff, the twin-engine plane went down killing all aboard.

Singer-songwriter Don McLean later wrote his classic early 70s mega-hit 'American Pie,' referencing Holly's death as "the day the music died."

Obviously shaken by the accident, Jennings temporarily quit the music business and took a job as a radio announcer. A few months later, he relocated to Arizona and would soon form a new band.

During the 60s, Jennings inked a contract with RCA Records, hooked up with Johnny Cash and discovered himself on the threshold of country music stardom.

While he enjoyed modest success through the late 60s, Jennings' career took full flight in the early 70s after he opted for a more raw, rough-edged approach to his music.

Jennings was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame in 2001. He sang the theme song 'Good Ol' Boys' for the popular television series, 'Dukes of Hazzard' which aired between 1979-85.

Next month, an 11-track record - the second of a three volume series dedicated to Jennings - will be released and titled "The Music Inside: A Collaboration Dedicated to Waylon Jennings, Vol. II."

Many of today's contemporary country artists have contributed, including Dierks Bentley, Justin Moore, Hank Williams, Jr., Montgomery Gentry, Jack Ingram, Pat Green, Colt Ford, and Jewell.

Jennings' widow, Jessi Colter, also recorded a track for the album and is joined by their son, Shooter Jennings.

"I feel like this project could very well break another sound barrier," Colter stated in a recent press release. "Waylon was so original. For his songs to be performed by other people and to take me somewhere else is not an easy task."

The Jennings' tribute disc will be available for pre-sale purchase digitally Jan. 24 and over the counter at retail outlets, Feb. 7.....As Jennings once so famously proclaimed: "I may be crazy but it keeps me from going insane...."

COLUMBUS rock veterans 'Red Wanting Blue' have just released a new studio album "From The Vanishing Point" and are touring in support of the disc.

The band has a live play date Jan. 27 at Wheeling Jesuit University and will also perform at Cleveland's House of Blues, Saturday, Feb. 4...

The band sold out Pittsburgh and Akron shows and is also scheduled to perform a World Cafe (National Public Radio) gig Feb. 19 in Philadelphia.

Red Wanting Blue formed in the late 90s while its members, including songwriter/vocalist Scott Terry were students at Kent State.....

THE Left Lane's 2011 CD of the Year was the superb 'Revelator' from the Tedeschi Trucks Band. The group just announced plans for a live recording to be released in late spring/early summer.

Entitled, "Everybody's Talkin," the title track is a Harry Nilsson-penned classic frequently covered by Tedeschi and Trucks.

Four tour dates in Japan are on the current menu for the husband/wife team of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks before they return for spring dates in the U.S., one of which is scheduled April 26 at Cincinnati's Taft Theater.....

Gibson may be reached at



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