Jason Ringenberg review…February 4, 2019….

JASON RINGENBERG

STAND TALL

COURAGEOUS CHICKEN RECORDS   CCECD  016

STAND TALL–LOOKIN’ BACK BLUES–JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS A REAL HUMDINGER–GOD BLESS THE RAMONES–HOBO BILL’S LAST RIDE–I’M WALKING HOME–ALMOST ENOUGH–HERE IN THE SEQUOIAS–JOHN MUIR STOOD HERE–MANY HAPPY HANGOVERS TO YOU–FAREWELL ANGELINA

When “Rolling Stone” magazine states that someone single-handedly re-wrote the history of rock ‘n roll in the South, that’s quite a billing to live up to.  But, when you’re Jason Ringenberg, and you front Jason And The (Nashville) Scorchers, it’s no stretch at all.  After all, back in the early Eighties, when their “Fervor” set hit the charts, they coined their own genre’, affectionately known as “cowpunk!”  Now, three decades later, Jason’s still rockin’ and sharing his stories, this time with “Stand Tall,” his first solo album in fifteen years!

The original songs on this set were written during a time when, while serving as Artist-In-Residence for the Sequoia National Park in Northern California, he stayed in a remote cabin, and, while basically communing with nature, the songs seemed to flow out of him.

Jason’s first band was called Shakespeare’s Riot, and he recruited that rhythm section for this album, with Gary Gibula on bass, and Tom Miller on drums.  A veritable “Who’s Who” of Nashville session men rounded out the players.

The set begins with the title cut, a majestic, multi-layered instrumental as big as the Great Outdoors itself, or at least as big as one of those Sequoias.  “Lookin’ Back Blues, and I don’t mean Luckenbach, Texas,” is a cool shot of  rocked-up alt-country, and a literal “blast from the past,” as is the “answer,” if you will, to a song Jason recorded long ago.  Yep—when “The Life Of The Party’s Killing Me,” she’ll eventually come “stumblin’ thru the house,” and gets a wish for “Many Happy Hangovers To You,” as our hero bids her adieu!  This one features Steve Fishell on pedal steel, too.   A stirring tribute to the brother-against-brother conflict of the War Between The States  is “I’m Walking Home,” with violin and tin whistle from our good friend Fats Kaplin, and electric guitars from George “The Tone Chaperone” Bradfute.

This whole thing was a pleasure to review, and we chose a favorite that hearkened back to the halcyon days of those legendary Saturday nights at Cantrell’s and The Exit/in.  (Yeah, we were there!).  In the spring of 1982, the band was picked to open for The Ramones on a Texas tour, and “God Bless The Ramones” burns with that same fire that made Jason And The Scorchers such an important band.

Thirty-odd years further on up the road, and Jason Ringenberg has sho’ nuff come a long way from the clubs of downtown Nashville to the Sequoia National Park.  A set as big and powerful as “Stand Tall” proves he’ll never lose that “fervor!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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