Tennessee Jet is what happens when a kid is raised on both Outlaw Country and Nirvana.
On his third effort, The Country, Tennessee Jet lays out a strong Americana/Outlaw Country-inspired collection of songs that have just enough bite at the core to let you know he probably has a lot of punk records in his collection. The most obvious nod to Nirvana is just three tracks in on “Johnny,” with its distorted guitars and the Pixies/Nirvana quiet, loud, quiet crescendo and crash. That vacillation between country and rock is what makes this record so satisfyingly strong. Just as easily as he struts his hard rock bonafides, he delivers a beautiful country song like “The Raven & The Dove,” lyrically sounding like a Kris Kristofferson lost song.
The 10 track album includes two fantastic covers – a take on Townes Van Zandt’s “Poncho & Lefty,” that is almost as good as Willie Nelson’s classic take on the song and a solid reimagining of The Black Crowes’ “She Talks To Angels.” The “Poncho & Lefty” cover includes backing vocals from Cody Jinks and Elizabeth Cook. And as great as those covers are, it’s his original songs that stand out strongest here, like the aforementioned “The Raven & the Dove” and the introspective “Off To War” and the raucous bar stomp of “Hands On You”.
On his first two records, Tennessee Jet went full Billy Corgan and played all the instruments himself, but on The Country, along with bringing in folks like Jinks and Cook to help with backing vocals, he recorded with Dwight Yoakam’s touring band. The result is his most compelling record to date, one that manages to be as intimate as his earlier efforts on songs like the title track, but also sounds like a fully fleshed out band ready to burn down the barn elsewhere on the record.