Friday night at the Birchmere, Waylon Jennings likened his solo concert to watching an old Gene Autry movie: There'd be Autry riding the prairie and singing a song while an invisible orchestra roared behind him. In this instance, Jennings triggered the recorded accompaniment with his foot every time he performed a tune from his new album "A Man Called Hoss." Admittedly, the concert left something to be desired -- namely, a band. But in every other respect it was a great show -- intimate, funny, revealing and terrifically entertaining.
Playing electric guitar, Jennings was in fine voice throughout the 90-minute show. And a good thing, too. For when he wasn't singing, he was telling outrageous tales about his rough and rowdy days, such as the time he and Johnny Cash sawed a few inches off all the furniture in a motel room and then invited room service up to see if they'd notice the difference.
For every song there were two or three outlandish anecdotes, but Jennings eventually worked his way through the "Hoss" album. He also performed some of his best known tunes strictly on guitar, dedicated one song to actor Robert Duvall who was seated nearby, and sang a couple of touching duets with his wife Jessi Colter. Perhaps most important, Jennings, who recently overcame a nearly career-long dependence on drugs, seemed to be enjoying himself as much as anyone in the cheering, laughing, sold-out club.