Waylon Jennings, who died in 2002, would have turned 80 in 2017. He and compadre Willie Nelson still personify country’s early-’70s Outlaw movement, focused on gaining creative control of their records after years of letting Nashville producers call the shots brought only middling success. Given a chance to record their way, they finally found the mass fame they knew they’d had all along and created enduring music with appeal that spanned generations.
That’s a point well made on this CD/DVD package of a July 2015 tribute concert: 22 Waylon standards performed by surviving contemporaries and new generations who’ve carried his banner into the 21st Century.
The songs run the gamut of Waylon’s career, sung by veterans including his widow Jessi Colter, Kris Kristofferson, Willie, Bobby Bare and Robert Earl Keen, with son Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Bingham, Toby Keith, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton (toting a Jazzmaster), Eric Church, Jamey Johnson, and Lee Ann Womack representing those carrying on the tradition.
The sidemen, drawing on the raw sound of Waylon’s band the Waylors, include guitarists Buddy Miller and Patrick Buchanan, Don Was on bass, veteran Waylon pedal steeler Robby Turner, and original Waylors drummer Richie Albright.
This article originally appeared in VG September 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.