Shooter Jennings' tribute album of Warren Zevon covers is clearly a labor of love. Zevon was a legendary Los Angeles singer/songwriter that somehow has been overlooked by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Jennings, though, has chosen to willfully focus his attention on this great artist's life work with this excellent overview. If you really need any more proof of Zevon's greatness, just give it a listen.
The album was recorded live at the Monterey, Cal. "Rebels & Renegades Festival," and includes some of the best of Zevon's many compositions. One of these is "Excitable Boy," which is about a deranged criminal whose bad behavior is excused because, well, he's just an excitable young man. Zevon sang it with deadpan bluntness, which Jennings also nicely replicates here. "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" was a twangy hit for Linda Ronstadt, and Jennings does it as a hearty rave-up. Zevon may have often come off like a cynical SOB at times, but his sad tale about a hard luck heroin addict in "Carmelita" will likely leave a lump in your throat. "Keep Me in Your Heart" is also a sweet love song.
Jennings closes with Zevon's most popular song, "Werewolves of London," which may be labeled as a novelty song by some. It's not, and actually features intelligent Zevon lyrics. Then again, Zevon was misunderstood when he was alive and is still a bit misunderstood by some folks now. Thankfully, Jennings 'gets' Zevon, which is why heartfelt tribute to the man's music works so well.