Oklahoma native Tennessee Jet has a name that’s as fascinatingly good as his music.
A good mix of rock, country, blues and folk, his unique sound is great, but more importantly, his songwriting is impeccable. He released his first, more alternative, self-titled album Tennessee Jet in 2015, and has since released two more; Reata in 2017, and The Country in 2020.
And what’s more, he’s a good friend and frequent collaborator of the great Cody Jinks, co-writing songs like “The Wanting,” “The Raven & the Dove,” and more.
If you haven’t heard of TJ before, here’s a list of seven songs to get you started.
7. Hands on You
This one’s a solo write, and it’s quite unique. Jet recalls conversations he had with an ex, and how she told him he was mistaken about certain things in their relationship. Now, he seems to be regretting the break up when he sees her with another man, as he explains he “can’t take [his] eyes off his hands on you.” Full of jealousy, regret and longing, it’s a fresh perspective on breaking up.
6. Stray Dogs
An ode to summer love gone awry. TJ metaphorically likens the couple’s actions and decision making to “stray dogs,” hence the title. Only he could turn a term like that into a beautifully written, meaningful song. It’s full of incredibly interesting and creative lyrics, like how the pair pulled “up our southern raisin’ by it’s Oklahoma roots.”
5. So She Goes
This song sounds a little more upbeat, though the subject matter is anything but. TJ recounts his feelings post break-up and laments how the girl has seemingly already moved on. He’s essentially trying to convince himself it was all “for the better,” though his inflection suggests otherwise as he can’t seem to shake her memory.
4. She Talks To Angels
This song is a cover of the The Black Crowes song from their 1990 album Shake Your Money Maker, which became one of their classic anthems. Jet’s version on his most recent album The Country, is also incredible. He makes it his own and you’re going to have it on repeat.
3. What Kind of Man
I love this one because it takes an unabashedly introspective and honest look at alcohol addiction. Not only that, but it examines the toll it can take on a relationship with an amount of self-awareness that is rare. TJ knows he’s in the wrong and feels guilty for his actions, but he can’t seem to help himself get on the right track, despite knowing how heartbreaking it is that the girl is suffering as a result. If you want country music that’s real, this is it.
2. How I Remember
A nostalgic track that will take you back to being young without a care in the world. It takes a deep dive into the memories that still afflict him with incredible details, setting the scene for the listener: “red bandana, auburn hair, crickets in the trees, jasmine in the air, you’re sipping on coke, and old crow whiskey. So Oklahoma, southern a santee”. Yeah, it’s unlike any other summer anthem you’ve heard before in the best way.
1. The Country
This is my absolute favorite Tennessee Jet song. He’s a wordsmith at heart, and it shines here on the title track. The best moment is the dazzling metaphor where Jet compares country radio to a long lost lover, as he recounts his feeling of yearning for what once was. He describes it poetically, singing “I miss you like the country radio don’t play no more”. It’s the most passive aggressive way to say what we’re all thinking and you’re gonna love every bit of it.
And you’re also gonna want to check out his rocking duet with Cody Jinks.
In 2018, the pair collaborated on a phenomenal cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Waymore’s Blues,” a B-Side hit from his 1975 Dreaming My Dreams record.
On a recent episode of the Whiskey Riff Raff podcast, Tennessee Jet goes deep into the songwriting industry with “track guys,” coked up “hype guys,” pub deals and more, Sam Hunt, nice guys that make shitty music, escapism, artists vs singers, writing with Cody Jinks, old school outlaws vs the social media microscope of today, cancel culture, and more.
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