Jason Ringenberg was born and raised on an Illinois hog farm that bordered the Rock Island Line Railroad. When he left for Nashville on 4th 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 that kick would go. He immediately formed Jason & The Scorchers and never looked back. Throughout the '80s and '90s they tore up venues across the planet and became known as one of the most exciting live bands of their era. 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) went solo. To date, he has released five Jason Ringenberg solo albums, 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 It's A Farmer Jason. Often, this relentless barnstormer will perform a Farmer Jason kids show in the daytime and a Jason Ringenberg concert at night in the same city.
His latest album Stand Tall was written whilst participating in the Artist in Residence Program for the National Park Service at Sequoia National Park. It is not hard to imagine him writing songs whilst 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.”
- Mojo (UK)
“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 (UK)
“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
Long Form Biography
By Peter Cooper
Jason Ringenberg is Nashville’s greatest 20th-century rock ’n’ roll frontman.
He and his band, Jason & The Scorchers, bridged rock and country in a way that had never been attempted, let alone actuated, and they paved the Music City rock roads on which new-century talents like Dan Auerbach, Kings of Leon, and Jack White now reside.
Whether filling notebook pages with songs or whirling across stages, extra-long mic cable mummifying him in black rubber and copper, Ringenberg exudes the riotous energy of rock ’n’ roll, while favoring welcome and affirmation over sneers. He moves like Jagger, without the preening. He possesses the melodic sense of his old tour buddies in R.E.M., without the lyrical ambiguity. He’s got the fire of Jerry Lee Lewis … but without all the guns and stuff...
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Stand Tall Press Release
What do you get when you place Americana music legend Jason Ringenberg in a grove of giant Sequoias? You end up with an inspiring new record called Stand Tall. But Ringenberg is no stranger to making inspired records. As far back as 1984 Rolling Stone magazine said that Fervor his album with Jason & The Scorchers “singlehandedly rewrote the history of rock ‘n’ roll in the South.”
Stand Tall was conceived and penned in June 2017 while Ringenberg was commissioned as the artist in residence at Sequoia National Park in northern California. The National Park Service put him up in a remote mountain cabin for a month to write songs and do concerts there. “I found that spending so much time alone in that primal wilderness did wonders for my songwriting,” said Ringenberg.
The result is a record filled with characters on a mission, from John the Baptist to John Muir to a disillusioned Confederate conscript. There is even a song about Jason’s experiences opening for the Ramones across Texas in 1982 called God Bless the Ramones. It speaks volumes that Jason would write a song about the Ramones while standing in the shadow of the Charles Young Sequoia, named after the first African-American national park head ranger and US Army Colonel.
To record the album, Ringenberg returned to his old haunts in the backwoods of Southern Illinois. He and the rhythm section of his first rock band, Shakespeare’s Riot, hunkered down in a studio with a tin roof and a rural soul. That down-home environment gave Ringenberg the freedom to dig deep into his musical heritage. Fleshing out the sound, Ringenberg enlisted the help of some of Nashville’s finest Americana musicians, such as Richard Bennett (producer of Steve Earle’s Guitar Town), Fats Kaplin (Jack White), Steve Fishell (Emmylou Harris's Hot Band) and Robert Bowlin (fiddle player for Bill Monroe.)
The chemistry of those artists, combined with songs written in a place of profound natural beauty, yields one of the most authentic records of Ringenberg’s career. "Writing songs while standing under a 2000-year-old Sequoia does tend to give you a leg up" said Jason.
Stand Tall indeed!
Accolades & Career Highlights
Jason & The Scorchers perform on the Outlaw Country Cruise to unanimous kudos. Jason guests at the Tom Petty Tribute singing ‘I Need To Know’ and receives the only standing ovation of the night.
Jason is commissioned by the National Park Service to participate in their Artist In Residency program at Sequoia National Park. He spends a month in the Giant Sequoia Groves and Sierra Nevada mountains writing songs and performing shows at the park. Those songs will become the basis for his Stand Tall record.
Jason & The Scorchers headline the Americana Stage at the prestigious Rambin’ Man festival in the UK.
Bowen-McCauley Dance Company and Jason & 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 Jason & 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 & 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 Mid-South Regional Emmy Awards on January 24. Given that the competition were well funded, 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 & 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 & The Scorchers Perry Baggs Benefit reunion 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 & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Emmylou Harris 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. Ringenberg begins performing children’s shows in the daytime, as well as ‘grown-up’ shows at night.
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 BEST SOLO SHOW OF THE YEAR. MILES OF MUSIC writer Dave Purcell writes of Jason’s legendary barnstorming solo 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 A POCKETFUL OF SOUL album 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 & The Scorchers.
ROLLING STONE declares Jason & 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 MUSICAL EXPRESS says of their London show: “Anyone lucky enough to get into the Jason & The Scorchers show at the Marquee Club saw one of the Top 5 gigs of all time.”
The first Jason & 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.