“Waylon Jennings was the cornerstone of my record collection forever. What appeals to me is what appeals to most people about Waylon — it’s just that very cool sense of self. It just seems like Waylon was an artist that is so important to American music, and I just thought, I can do that. And so, why not?”
— Shannon McNally
Shannon McNally has recorded an album of Waylon Jennings material — The Waylon Sessions — due out in May. She’s dropped a faithful rendition of I Ain’t Living’ Long Like This, featuring the man who wrote it, Rodney Crowell.
She talked to American Songwriter Magazine about the project. I love her attitude:
“Sometimes you’ve just got to do what you want to do. There will be a return, but you don’t know what the return will be. The entire music business is a mess, for writers, for artists, for everybody. Everybody gets screwed. If this isn’t a spiritual pursuit for you, go get a job. I need to do what channels through me, and Waylon’s attitude and perception of life, to me, is something that we need, I feel that strongly.
I want to have fun and I want to feel good, I want to bring some joy, and I want people to feel that same sense of freedom that I feel, that I felt growing up listening to writers and artists like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver. They armed me with a sense of humor, with a sense of right and wrong, of musical decision-making power. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it, have some balls and do what you want to do and let the chips fall where they fall.”
That’s how heroes become immortal — someone keeps the flame burning and the songs alive. In this case, a soulful Black Irish beauty with a smoky voice and an outlaw attitude. Yep — I reckon that Waylon approves.