It kind of saved my life, really…for most of my career I was just partying…doing shows and partying…wasn’t really realizing what I was doing to myself…honestly Covid saved my life…(on Covid and rehab).
Today, we chatted with Whey Jennings. Whey comes from country music royalty, his grandfather was the legendary Waylon Jennings and grandmother Jessi Colter both had major success in the music charts, we talk about early influences, touring, sobriety, and what’s next for this outlaw country artist.
Whey Jennings 00:52
I was born at Dallas Texas Department hospital and raised in Grand Prairie. I was raised by my mama out there. I guess my earliest memories of music was going to my grandfather’s shows as a kid and getting on stage with him. It was pretty fun when I was a kid, but when I got about 13 years old, I went out on stage with him and I froze like a deer in headlights. But, you know, after time went by, I went to work on a cotton farm and started singing to myself on a tractor. Then my mama got sick. She asked me to do something with music. So I tried it out. I guess it’s stuck.
Brent Hanifl 01:57
Looking at your calendar, your calendar is filling up the shows. Just right now you’re driving down the road, probably going to your next gig. What was the COVID intermission like for you, you know, being someone who seems to be touring a lot?
Whey Jennings 02:09
It kinda saved my life really. Because for most of my career I was just partying. I was doing shows and partying, and doing shows partying. And I wasn’t really realizing what I was doing to myself. And then when COVID hit, I did my last show, had my last party and found myself broke and not in too good of health. So, I took the advice of some really good people. My manager and my wife, other good friends of mine. I went to rehab and I got cleaned up. And I got my kids back with me, spent some time kind of really getting close. Life has been really good since about a year ago. So, honestly, COVID saved my life, man.
Brent Hanifl 02:51
For you as a songwriter, what is the process like? Is it something that’s, you know, you’ve taken maybe this COVID time and maybe put some things down? Is it a fast process for you? Is it a collaborative process with your band?
Whey Jennings 03:03
Its like pretty sporadic. I mean, if they come to you, they come to you. Sometimes we sit down and we work on them till they come, and sometimes they come in the middle of nowhere, you know. We got a new record, been working on a little bit of the music on it, but it’ll be out here pretty soon. It’s gonna be called If It Wasn’t For The Senate. So, songs I wrote before I got clean, and after I got clean. From when my heart was broken and when I fell in love. It’s been sort of like a mixture between old me and new me, but it’s really a great album. I can’t wait for everybody to hear it.
Brent Hanifl 03:36
You’ll also be hitting the stage Friday, August 6th at Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin. For someone who hasn’t seen you play, what can they expect?
Whey Jennings 03:44
They can expect a good time, that’s for sure. We like to have a pretty high energy band. We do a lot of country rock and blues. We do a lot of upbeat songs, we do a lot of slow songs. It’s a pretty good mixture, something for everybody, you know. They can expect a good time, I guarantee you that.
Brent Hanifl 04:03
Well you kind of referenced the album coming out, what’s next for you, you know, even in 2021 or 2022 that you’re excited about?
Whey Jennings 04:10
What I’ve been most excited about is my life with my kids and my wife. And writing good songs with my band, just surrounding myself with really good people. I got a really good unit going on. Really the stars, phantoms, indigo stars is what I’m doing. I spent a lot of time you know, on the wrong side of the path and I’m on the right side of the path now. Really, the sky’s the limit, man. I mean, I don’t know what to expect, but I know it’s gonna be great. I know that when we’ve been making a lot of good decisions, surrounding ourselves with a lot of good people. And everybody better look out because here I come.
Brent Hanifl 04:47
So, I just saw recently one of your videos, it does seem like you guys keep it in the family. I believe your daughter got up and sang with you recently?
Whey Jennings 04:54
Yeah, she’s been getting on stage with me here recently. That’s where I’m headed out right now. We got to take her back to the airport. She’s been with me all summer. We’ve really had a good couple months together, it’s been great. She got on stage with me to sing Hallelujah together a few times. And as far the highlight of my career, man, having one of my kids on stage, it really meant the world to me. Kind of sad right now because I’m taking her back to the airport to go back home to her mother. It’s really been a great experience and I can’t wait for her to come back.
Brent Hanifl 05:25
If people, you know, want to find out more, maybe grab some tickets for the Pearl Street Brewery show, what’s the best avenue for them to go to?
Whey Jennings 05:31
Get on my Facebook page and send a message to that page and my manager will know the answer to all the questions there.
Amy Gabay 05:42
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.
About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
Find us in your favorite podcast app.