Rhinestoned – Robust twanging songs
There is something reassuring in Jason Ringenberg’s continued dedication to the values that lit his fuse some 40 years ago. Then in the role of singer with Jason & the Scorchers, Ringenberg was in the vanguard of cow(boy)-punk, an adrenalin-fuelled sub-genre that, inspired by the likes of the Sex Pistols, sought to shake up Nashville.
In time cow-punk would dissolve into alt.country and Americana, but it had its moment. As he told lonesomehighway.com, “I am proud of the influence Jason & the Scorchers had on country music . . . There were others making big statements as well, but we made our’s with a whole lot of volume and noise.”
Fast forward through a solid performing life, notable in recent years for his children’s music character Farmer Jason. Now, at 62, Ringenberg has come out with a robust collection of twanging songs that address the horrors of war, the price the Freedom Riders paid, the tragedy of Native Americana, Nashville’s perfidious nature and, more personally, whether there is a place “in this world for my highway songs”.
The answer is yes. At best the songs exude energy and commitment. But there is also a sameness which, along with his high-pitched voice, can wear thin.
Producer and multi-instrumentalist George Bradfute is outstanding. He might not be the Scorchers of their heyday, but Ringenberg’s trust is handsomely repaid.
by Joe Breen
The Irish Times