It's been more than a decade since legendary crooner Waylon Jennings shuffled loose the mortal coil and headed for the big honky-tonk in the sky, leaving behind an ample discography of 50-something albums of magnificent down-home material and a heritage as one of country's bona fide outlaws.
According to local platter jock DJ Johnny Volume, who's spun many a vinyl version of Jennings' classics during his residency at long-running country night Valley Fever, the singer and longtime Arizona resident was a true original whose influence is still felt today.
"Waylon made people who had a stereotypical view of country music realize they liked country music," Volume says. "He was so authentic, rooted in like Hank, yet moved forward. The outlaw thing was really just the real thing [and] bucked the Nashville trend, which could use some bucking right now as well."
Waylon Jennings Birthday Bash @ Crescent Ballroom
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Volume, along with fellow Valley Fever resident DJ Dana Armstrong and renowned Arizona music historian John Dixon, will help celebrate Jennings, who passed away from diabetes in 2002, as well as his music and legacy, during the Waylon Jennings Birthday Bash on Saturday, June 15, at the Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue.
Each DJ will drop the needle on vintage Jennings vinyl from the singer's ample discography (Armstrong, for instance, will focus on older records, while Volume will dip into later stuff, and Dixon rocks old 45s) between sets by such local Americana, country, and blues artists as the Rowdy Johnson Band, Hans Olson, Junction 10, and the Tony Martinez Band.
The party is one of numerous fetes occurring across the country in the late superstar's honor that will raise money for the non-profit Waylon Jennings Fund, which supports diabetes research at local bioscience firm TGen. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5. Call 602-716-2222.