Been There All Along
I never listened to much Jason and the Scorchers music, but I always kept one eye on them. So when Jason Ringenberg released another solo project recently, I was interested. When I listened to it the first time, I was impressed.
Now I'm hooked.
Ringenberg enlisted a variety of Nashville friends to help him out, so that a different guest artist appears on every track. The album blasts out of the gates with the hard-driving rockabilly of "Honky Tonk Maniac From Mars," featuring Hammell on Trial backing up the main man. The album then weaves gracefully through George Jones and Loretta Lynn covers (with help from Kristi Rose and Fats Kaplin, and BR-549, respectively), as well as some memorable originals.
Among the best is "A Bible and a Gun," a collaboration with Steve Earle, "James Dean's Car" (with Todd Snider), and especially the gritty "One Less Heartache" (with the Wildhearts). The sentimental "Camille" (with Swan Drive) also scores, as does the infectious "Too High to See," with Bowling Green's own Tommy Womack. Ringenberg then throws a welcome curveball with "Erin's Seed," a folk song about a 19th-Century Irish family that flees its homeland only to land in the middle of America's Civil War.
This may not be the best alt-country album of the year, but it sure as heck could be. And I'm beginning to think I missed out by not paying closer attention to the Scorchers.