When the progeny of one of the most beloved country singers of all time comes to town with members of his father’s band in tow, you best be sure that the audience will be packed with a couple generations of outlaws singing right along to their favorite songs.
That scene recently played out at the Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland, as Shooter Jennings played for a packed house alongside Waymore’s Outlaws (featuring members who played in Waylon Jennings’ band) and Hagerstown, Maryland’s Joshua Morningstar.
Equipped with an acoustic guitar, two kick-drums, and some A+ storytelling, Morningstar blazed through a short set of covers and originals. He certainly has a knack for the “My woman’s done me wrong” song which was evidenced in two of his originals (particularly “As Long As You Aren’t Coming Back.”) While he covered Merle Haggard’s “Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison,” his finest moment was when he played Chris Stapleton’s “Whiskey and You,” which Morningstar claimed “Tim McGraw ruined,” to many chuckles in the crowd (I was sure to point out to him after the show to that he should check out Julie Robert’s soulful version from her Alive album). Morningstar wasn’t done taking shots at Nashville though. His final song “Stop F@&*ing Up Country Music” had the outlaw country crowd roaring with laughter while singing along to the chorus: “Leave country music alone. Stop F@&*ing up country music. Send all the pretty boys home.” He may not be making friends on Music Row, but Morningstar is certainly one to look out for if you’re into outlaw country.
Waymore’s Outlaws which featured Jerry Bridges, Richie Albright, Fred Newell and Tommy Townsend, played a spirited set of Waylon’s most revered songs including “Don’t Think Hank Done It This Way,” “Rainy Day Woman,” “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” “Luckenbach, TX,” “This Time,” “Good Hearted Woman” (which featured steel guitarist Fred Newell singing the Willie Nelson part by pinching his nose to get that nasal sound), and naturally “The Theme From ‘The Dukes of Hazard.” The band was tight, and Townsend sang these country classics with all of the swagger and reverence that they deserved.
While the Waymore’s Outlaws performance was over, they didn’t leave the stage, as they served as Shooter’s backing band. Jennings and the Outlaws kicked off their set by barreling through two more Waylon songs, “Ain’t Living Long Like This” and “Black Rose.” A couple more covers followed as they played “Setting Me Up” by Dire Straits and “She Talks to Rainbows” by NYC punk heroes, The Ramones. Shooter and the Outlaws then revved up the already fiery crowd with “Don’t Wait Up (I’m Playin’ Possom) from the Don’t Wait Up For George EP before introducing a brand new song, “Nashville From Afar” which naturally is about being an outsider in country music’s capital. Shooter and the band proceeded to keep their momentum going with a handful of his songs including “A Hard Lesson To Learn,” “Gone to Carolina,” “Whistlers and Jugglers,” before adding another Waylon song to the set, “4th Of July.” They then concluded their set with a Waymore’s Outlaws song, “Same Old Outlaw,” a rambling southern-sounding song celebrating outlaw country, and life, a fitting end to an evening of classically inspired country music.