Stand Tall has everything you should love about music. Amped up angst-driven rowdiness, historical references delivered in the lyrics, and touches of tender rowdiness. Stand Tall kicks off with a spaghetti western score; reverb drenched twang placed gently under an acoustic guitar and a trumpet ring accompanying a shape materializing from the dark. It’s a great opener, with Jason Ringenberg playing that emerging figure ready to deliver classic cow-punk. “Lookin’ Back Blues” follows, charging out of the gate with Ringenberg remaining in scorcher and scorching form.
The autobiographical bent to “God Bless the Ramones” is a music and lyrical nod to when his band, Jason & The Scorchers, toured with the legendary punk band, helping connect the dots between country and punk. “Hobo Bill’s Last Ride” is a yodelin’ dose of western folk. “I’m Walking Home” is a Pogues-influenced civil war ballad and “Almost Enough” is a bouncy, tongue in cheek anti-gospel number. Jason Ringenberg moves out west with “Here in the Sequoias,” the story written during his time as an artist in residence in the Sierra Nevadas, the memory followed by a historical nod wrapped in a rock song with “John Muir Stood Here.” “Many Happy Hangovers to You” comes across as a bar-hopping warning cry, and the album closes with a dose of Dylan and a beautiful version of “Farewell Angelina.” Jason Ringenberg and his band, which features some of the Nashville’s best, give Americana a nice kick in the tail while reminding us that the marriage of country and rock and roll flirting with humor is a fruitful relationship.
by Bryant Liggett