Jason Ringenberg was born and raised on an Illinois hog farm that bordered the Rock Island Line Railroad. He left for Nashville July 4 1981 to pursue his dream of “making a band that could kick American roots music into the modern age!” Little did he know just how far the kick would go. He immediately formed Jason and the Scorchers and never looked back. Throughout the 1980s and '90s they tore up venues across the planet and became known as one of the most exciting live bands in music. On classic LPs like Fervor and Lost and Found they “singlehandedly rewrote the history of rock ‘n roll in the South.” (Rolling Stone ) Their instinctive ability to combine traditional country music with high-energy punk rock has not been surpassed to this day. In 2008 they were awarded the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance.
Never one to rest on his laurels, in 1999 the “Godfather of Americana” (Mojo) decided to go solo. He has released five Jason Ringenberg records, with everyone from the BBC to USA Today lauding his songwriting. His high octane one-man show prompted The Times (UK) to call him “one of the most exciting performers of his generation.” In 2002 he created a children’s music character called Farmer Jason, winning numerous awards including an Emmy for his PBS video program. Often this relentless barnstormer will do a Farmer Jason kids show in the daytime and a Jason Ringenberg concert at night in the same city.
His new record Stand Tall was written while doing the Artist in Residence program for the National Park Service at Sequoia National Park. It is not hard to imagine him writing songs while climbing a 10000 foot Sierra Nevada mountain! That restless spirit will not be stilled.
“The Godfather of Americana… the spirit of Woody Guthrie rocks on in Daddy Ringenberg’s boy.”
“One of the most overlooked country rock pioneers in the business… Ringenberg has gained the reputation as one of the most dynamic live performers of his generation.”
– The Times
“Although Gram Parsons and Uncle Tupelo have elicited more reverence as country-rock avatars, Jason’s musical imprint remains more vital than either’s.”
- No Depression
“…one of America’s proudest rebels, it is hard to imagine the current Americana scene without his pioneering work…”
- Rolling Stone
“He still has an unbelievable energy level...high kicking around the stage like the 20 something he once was, well still is really. There are few better and none more entertaining.”
- Americana UK
“Jason Ringenberg is Nashville’s most electrifying performer, but his most enduring attribute, his songwriting, is also his most criminally overlooked."
– USA TODAY
Bowen-McCauley Dance Company and Jason and the Scorchers team up for two full shows at the Kennedy Center using the live music of the band combined with the choreography of BMDC. The event is a huge success.
Jason performs Far Behind at the Kennedy Center to the choreography of the Bowen McCauley Dance Company.
Jason hosts and performs on the PBS affiliated TV show Music City Roots which goes into syndication.
The UK ’s prestigious Classic Rock Magazine calls The Scorchers’ Lost and Found record one of the most influential releases of its day.
The NFL uses songs written and recorded by Jason Ringenberg with Warner Hodges and friend Joe Blanton in team promotions for the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.
Jason and the Scorchers release Halcyon Times to universal acclaim, many critics considering it their best record yet. Vintage Guitar calls it “CD of the Year.”
Farmer Jason’s ‘IT’S A FARMER JASON!’ PBS interstitial video program wins the Emmy Award for Best Children’s Program Mid South Region at the 23rd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards on January 24. Given that the competition were well funded and established programs, this was definitely a delightful surprise for all those pulling for Farmer Jason. Jason himself had not even prepared an acceptance speech, but he thought one up quick enough.
Jason and the Scorchers are honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance by the Americana Music Association on September 18. The original band get together to accept the award and play two songs at the awards ceremony. It is the first time that the original line-up has played together since. 1996.
The double CD of Jason’s best songs and rarities BEST TRACKS AND SIDE TRACKS 1979-2008 is released and the story goes on
The Jason and the Scorchers reunion Perry Baggs Benefit show is named by THE TENNESSEAN as the “High Point of 2007” saying: “With drummer Perry Baggs ailing, the greatest rock band in Nashville history got back together for an electrifying, exhausting and brilliant night of music on June 2 at Exit/In. Being there to witness the whirl and snarl, the twang and the churn of that band . . . well, it was like watching Secretariat rise from the grave and whip every 2-year-old horse at Churchill Downs.”
At the prestigious STAGECOACH FESTIVAL, headlined by the biggest stars in Country and Americana music (Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, Emmy Lou Harris, etc etc,) USA TODAY singles out the Farmer Jason show as one of the highlights of the concert.
Rhino Records and Lionsgate Music sign Farmer Jason to recording and publishing deals and release ROCKIN’ IN THE FOREST WITH FARMER JASON as a joint venture.
Remarking about his EMPIRE BUILDER’s CD, MOJO says of Ringenberg:” Woody Guthrie’s spirit rocks on in Daddy Ringenberg’s boy.”
Robert K. Oermann says in MUSIC ROW MAGAZINE: “No act has ever blended punk rock intensity with a country swagger better than Jason Ringenberg and his bandmates the Scorchers… the band and Ringenberg are the closest things Nashville has to rock’n’roll legends”
Jason launches his children’s music character FARMER JASON with the release of his cd A DAY A THE FARM WITH FARMER JASON.
The character takes on a life of its own, to everyone’s surprise, and delight. Disney’s FAMILY FUN magazine named it one of the Top 5 Best Children’s CDs of 2003.
ALL OVER CREATION, a duets CD with artists ranging from Steve Earle to England’s Wildhearts, is released to universal praise around the world including earning AMERICANA CD OF THE MONTH in MOJO and feature reviews in publications as varied as the UK’s UNCUT, Sweden’s OSTERSUND, USA TODAY, the UK’s COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE and Dave Marsh’s NOW AIN’T THE TIME FOR YOUR TEARS broadside.
HONKY TONK MANIAC FROM MARS is used as the main closing credits song on the movie THE BIG EMPTY.
"ALL OVER CREATION marks a spectacular return to form by one of the most overlooked country rock pioneers still in the business… Ringenberg has gained the reputation as one of the most dynamic performers of his generation!” - The TIMES (UK):
John Peel plays THE LAST RIDE on his prestigious BBC Radio show which launches Jason’s UK solo career.
The CHICAGO SUN TIMES names Jason’s solo show at Shubas “The BEST SOLO SHOW OF THE YEAR.”
MILES OF MUSIC writer Dave Purcell writes of Jason’s legendary solo barnstormer shows, “Jason Ringenberg may call himself a folksinger, but if so he is the rockinest folk singer that ever lived!”
The ASSOCIATED PRESS names Jason’s solo CD A POCKETFUL OF SOUL one of the ten best country CDs of 2000. The CD makes Top 10 on the Americana Radio charts.
The Scorchers appearance on Conan O’Brien is generally considered the most explosive live TV performance of their career.
THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME creates and unveils a feature exhibit of Jason and the Scorchers.
ROLLING STONE declares Jason and the Scorchers “one of the great rock bands of the 1980s!” in a review of their ESSENTIAL JASON AND THE SCORCHERS VOLUME 1 CD
ONE FOOT IN THE HONKY TONK from Ringenberg’s solo Capitol CD of the same name, is added to heavy rotation on CMT.
GOLDEN BALL AND CHAIN, from the album STILL STANDING, reaches the Top 15 on the USA Rock Radio charts. The band performs at FARM AID II and brings the house down.
LOST AND FOUND is released to universal praise from publications ranging from CREEM to MELODY MAKER (UK).
SHOP IT AROUND makes the Top 40 charts in the UK.
WHITE LIES is a Rock Radio hit in the USA.
FERVOR is re-released on EMI America
The video for ABSOLUTELY SWEET MARIE ends up on MTV rotation and the record is a hit on college radio.
The NEW MUSIC EXPRESS says of their London show: “Anyone lucky enough to get into the Jason and the Scorchers show at the Marquee Club saw one of the Top 5 gigs of all time.”
The first Jason and the Nashville Scorchers album FERVOR garners the NEW YORK TIMES EP of the Year award, makes the VILLAGE VOICE critics poll (number three), and gets a 4 Star review in ROLLING STONE, one of the only independent releases that year to earn such status.
Jason Ringenberg’s Fruits of Honest Labor
by Tommy Womack
A couple of years ago Jason and I were doing a run of dates together through the snowy Midwest. I was road-ragged and he was fresh as a daisy. He’d driven across Alaska not long before and spent six weeks in Sweden and England and Holland before that! We got to talking about farm life and how Jason and his brother grew up feeding the hogs at five in the morning every day.... (continue)
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