Waylon Jennings’ Son Announces Release Of ‘New, Classic’ Music From Waylon’s Vault

18 June 2024 | 2:25 pm | Ellie Robinson

“I’m in possession of [a] treasure trove of previously unheard full-band Waylon Jennings multi-track recordings from the ‘70s and early ‘80s,” says Jennings’ son Shooter.

Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings (Supplied)

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Fans of the late, great Waylon Jennings have reason to celebrate this week, with his son Shooter confirming that a “treasure trove” of previously unheard music – newly mastered from recordings by Jennings in the ‘70s and early ‘80s – is being prepared for release.

Shooter made the bombshell announcement on Sunday (June 16) to coincide Father’s Day in the US, recounting a story of his childhood: “In the house that I grew up in, there was a room that was always locked. The ‘storage room’ is what my parents called it. I have vivid memories of dozens of grey boxes in cubby holes with notes jotted in marker on the outside. I knew what was in those boxes was my dad’s work.”

The 45-year-old (who is an accomplished country artist in his own right) went on to explain that upon the senior Jennings’ death in 2002, that archive of tapes was kept “in storage in his office and in various studios around Nashville”. A widespread effort to digitise the catalogue began in 2008, and it was again transferred “to more modern drives” in 2014 – where it’s sat dormant ever since.

“Honestly,” Shooter admitted, “I didn’t have the time, the tools or the resources [to dig through the archive]. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready for it. Either way, I found myself here, with Sunset Sound Studio 3 at my disposal, with my great assistant engineer Nate Haessly helping me, we took out the drives and we plugged them in.

“What I expected to find was a catalog of all of my dad’s albums and recordings. I knew there were a few songs that were never released, for whatever reasons, so I had my fingers crossed that I would maybe find something special and rare along the way that I could share with you. What I found was a massive historical documentation of a man, and a band with an incredible friendship, work ethic and deep passion for playing and recording music.”

Shooter described the unearthed collection of songs as something “way beyond [his] wildest fantasies”, with “hundreds of reels of tape” to mine through.

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So came his grand declaration: “I’m in possession of [a] treasure trove of previously unheard full-band Waylon Jennings multi-track recordings from the ‘70s and early ‘80s and I have begun preparing the material to be mixed right here in Snake Mountain, on this beautiful 1976 Demedio Custom API console.”

He confirmed that the songs are “not demos” and “not unfinished”, but “will take some time top explore, prepare and mix” before they’re eventually released in 2025.

The upcoming release will mark Jennings’ first posthumous material since 2012, when his surviving family worked to complete a compilation of songs released as Goin' Down Rockin': The Last Recordings. That was Jennings’ second posthumous release, following Waylon Forever (for which Shooter also led the release, alongside his band The .357’s) in 2008.

The last album Jennings release before his death was Closing In On The Fire, which arrived in 1998.