Shooter Jennings & The .357s Bad Magick: The Best Of

It certainly seems like a highfalutin move when an artist releases a best-of collection so early in their career. Then again, if you're Shooter Jennings and your three albums thus far have been wildly inconsistent, cherry-picking the highlights from all of them is probably the best way to show once and for all that you're not just riding the coattails of your dearly departed daddy, Waylon. Indeed, Bad Magick makes it easy to gain respect for Jennings as a potent country rocker, even if most of his songs merely regurgitate long-held Southern rock stereotypes. Simply put, Jennings seems like the guy who actually would play "Freebird" if someone yelled for it. That said, the best of "the best of" comes from Jennings's last studio effort, The Wolf, which finally displayed marked improvement in songwriting. "This Ol' Wheel" is the key track, summarizing Jennings' journey to this point, delivered with the passion that came so naturally to his father. With Bad Magick firmly closing the first chapter on that journey, hopefully it signals even better things from an artist only beginning to realize his potential. (Universal South)