Using some leftover songs from previous release Stand Tall (2017-18) and following a surge in creativity during 2020’s global pandemic and American political turmoil, Ringenberg has produced a crowdfunded album of personal originals and covers. George Bradfute, multi-instrumentalist and producer handles most instruments, with Steve Ebe (Carl Perkins, the Chicks, Marty Stuart) on drums. Fats Kaplin (Jack White, the Judds, Hayes Carll, Tom Russell) on steel guitar and fiddle. Ringenberg’s daughters Addie and Camille pitched in on harmony vocals and piano.
His own songs include ‘I Rode With Crazy Horse’, loosely based on an old Lakota/Oglala legend and ‘The Freedom Rides Weren’t Free’ about the Freedom Riders, young Black and white activists who challenged the segregated bus systems in the South during the early 1960s (written right before the major racial unrest in the summer of 2020). Taken all together, this is a record populated by old souls and ghosts, the main song cycle of Rhinestoned examining his relationship with a changing Nashville and its role in country music. Cover choices represent different phases of American country music: Carter Family’s ‘The Storms are on the Ocean’, Hank Sr’s ‘You Win Again’, Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ ‘Time Warp’. Traditional 1800’s Easter hymn ‘Christ the Lord Is Risen Today’, learned after hearing his daughters sing it in their church choir. Initially a solo effort, crafted by team and supported by friends and fans, it becomes a rough and ready, honest and heartfelt effort.
By David Pearson
The Spirit of Progressive Rock