Black Ribbons

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Black Ribbons
Studio album by Shooter Jennings and Hierophant
Released March 2, 2010
Recorded 2009
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock, alternative rock, heavy metal, alternative country, southern rock
Label Black Country Rock
Producer Dave Cobb
Shooter Jennings and Hierophant chronology
The Wolf
(2007)
Black Ribbons
(2010)
Family Man
(2012)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars link
PopMatters 4/10 stars link
No Depression (no rating) link

Black Ribbons is a dystopian concept album by Shooter Jennings with his band Hierophant. The album features dialogue written by horror author Stephen King, who also narrates the album. The album was released on March 2, 2010.

The first single, "Wake Up", was released on December 22, 2009. [1]

Overview[edit]

It has been described as "The Allman Brothers meets Pink Floyd" and Jennings himself has compared it to Nine Inch Nails.[2] He also said it would be a concept album, stating "The whole album is kind of this big concept record about truth, and about the importance of love and two people connecting. It’s masqueraded as this kind of futuristic story that goes on with this guy. As a whole, I believe it is something that is a really cool piece of art."[3]

The website bloody-disgusting.com said of the album's style, "Musically, Black Ribbons is a mind-blowing opus that completely obliterates genre distinctions. On this unprecedented work, twanging dobros coexist with Nintendo chipsets; brutally assaultive passages alternate with moments of unabashed tenderness, and surreal Floydian soundscapes float above smoking slabs of whiskey-soaked southern soul. It's an electrifying thrill ride across a dense, dark and gloriously decadent musical landscape."[4]

Jennings also stated that Alex Jones and David Icke were major influences on the album and debuted the song "Wake Up" on Jones' radio show. Also on the show he revealed that there would be songs about eugenics and the Bohemian Club.[5] Jennings told Jones that, "The album is rooted in what we're about. Truth and waking up. We want to promote something that will awaken some people...I studied the Masons, books on the occult, the terminology. Brought me to be a completely different person". He also spoke about the New World Order (conspiracy theory).[6]

He later told Billboard, "I've always been drawn to the darker side of things. When I was doing this record, I was reading a lot on everything, from past civilizations to government conspiracies to UFOs to the brief history of time to books on the occult. I was soaking up this dark counterculture of the world. We're in a very grim time. So I needed to paint the grim picture to let the colors of the positive message of the record shine."[7]

Jennings told the Washington Post, "I think the whole thing is a metaphor for how hard it's been to get my voice heard. Whether it's a success or not, at the end of the day I know that I didn't play by anyone's expectations. This is the anti-expectations album."[8]

Jennings and the band were going to perform the album live during a release party at the Viper Room in Los Angeles on March 3, 2010 but they had to cancel it due to a scheduling conflict.

Concept[edit]

The album is set in the near future and is a broadcast by fictional disc jockey "Will 'o the Wisp" during his last night on the air before the U.S. Government takes control of the airwaves. He has vowed to play the one band the American government does not want him to play.

Stephen King[edit]

In February 2009, it was announced that writer Stephen King would play a major role in the album. According to the Associated Press, "King is the voice of Will O' The Wisp, a radio talk-show host being phased out by government censorship. He spends his last hour on the air delivering a diatribe about the decline of America, and playing the music of an important band—which happens to be Jennings' new band, Hierophant.".[9][10]

Jennings also said King rewrote portions of the narration, saying "“He took what I'd done, doctored it and made it his own. He threw in some awesome lines. That made me feel vindicated for any frustration I'd felt. It told me I really was on the right path."[11]

King said, "It's a tremendously spooky idea. He sent me a draft, and it was just about perfect. I altered a few things and expanded some of it, but he knew exactly what he wanted. . . . To me, it was brilliant, the way the talk and the music weave in and out."[12]

King is a fan of Jennings and even mentioned him in his novel Lisey's Story.[13]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) performer Length
1. "Wake Up!"   Shooter Jennings   6:01
2. "Last Light Radio 11:01 pm"     Stephen King 2:30
3. "Triskaidekaphobia"   Shooter Jennings   3:10
4. "Don't Feed the Animals"   Dave Cobb, Shooter Jennings   3:27
5. "The Breaking Point"   Shooter Jennings   5:45
6. "Last Light Radio 11:16 pm"     Stephen King 1:31
7. "Everything Else is Illusion"   Shooter Jennings, Matt Whyte   3:35
8. "God Bless Alabama"   Matt Reasor   3:31
9. "All of This Could Have Been Yours"   Shooter Jennings   4:46
10. "Last Light Radio 11:29 pm"     Stephen King 1:11
11. "Fuck You (I'm Famous)"   Shooter Jennings   1:43
12. "Lights in the Sky"   Shooter Jennings   5:11
13. "Black Ribbons"   Shooter Jennings   4:21
14. "Last Light Radio 11:41 pm"     Stephen King 1:34
15. "Summer of Rage"   Shooter Jennings   5:39
16. "California via Tennessee"   Ike Reilly   3:19
17. "The Illuminated"   Shooter Jennings   4:54
18. "Last Light Radio 11:57 pm"     Stephen King 1:08
19. "When the Radio Goes Dead"   Ted Russell Kamp   5:07
20. "All of This Could Have Been Yours (reprise)"   Shooter Jennings Stephen King 3:10
Total length:
71:33

Singles[edit]

The track "Wake Up" was released as a digital single on December 22, 2009 with the following track listing:

  • 1. Wake Up
  • 2. Wake Up (Pig Flu mix)

Releases[edit]

The album was released as both a CD and as a vinyl record.

Credits[edit]

  • Shooter Jennings- vocals, guitar, piano, drums, programming
  • Dave Cobb- producer, bass, guitar, keyboards, programmings
  • Ted Russell Kamp- acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
  • Bryan Keeling- drums
  • Bobby Emmett- Hammond organ
  • Jonathan Wilson- guitar
  • Robby Turner- acoustic guitar, dobro
  • Danny Coakley- background vocals, clapping, stomping
  • Jessi Colter- backing vocals
  • Jennifer Davis- backing vocals
  • Stephen King- Will 'o the Wisp (narrator)
  • Mike Sportes – "Hierophant" drawing

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 133
U.S. Billboard Top Independent Albums 16
U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums 34

References[edit]

  1. ^ "[Stream] Shooter Jennings- Wake Up". December 10, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  2. ^ "Interviews: Shooter jennings". Live-Metal.Net. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  3. ^ "Shooter Jennings Hints At New Album : Music Features". PlugInMusic.com. July 27, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  4. ^ Bloody-Disgusting.com (January 6, 2010). "BD Music News – New SHOOTER JENNINGS Album 'Black Ribbons' Features Guest Appearance By Author Stephen King". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  5. ^ The Alex Jones Show 9-17-2009 http://www.alexjonespodcasts.com/ccount/click.php?id=207
  6. ^ "Shooter Jennings talks truth on 'The Alex Jones Show'". Infowars.net. September 17, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  7. ^ "Shooter Jennings paints new songs "Black"". Reuters. February 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ Richards, Chris (February 26, 2010). "Shooter takes aim: Toting an exciting mix of metal and rock-and-roll, the son of two country icons has his own brand of rebellion". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Shooter Jennings taps Stephen King for album - Entertainment - Music". MSNBC. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  10. ^ By essar1 on January 19, 2010 (January 19, 2010). "Stephen King Lends Voice to Shooter Jennings Concept Album :: Music :: News :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  11. ^ "Recording Shooter Jennings Black Ribbons Album". Mixonline.com. February 1, 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  12. ^ Lewis, Randy (February 27, 2010). "Shooter Jennings and Stephen King team for "Black Ribbons"". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ Flood, Alison (January 7, 2010). "Stephen King makes horrifying guest appearance on rock album". The Guardian (London). Retrieved April 26, 2010.