Back in the day, Jason Ringenberg journeyed from his family's Illinois pig farm to Nashville where he met some boys from Tennessee and formed the Cowpunk band Jason & The Scorchers. They became a boisterous and much loved live act with a varied set list that included covers ranging from John Denver to The Rolling Stones.
He went solo in 1999 and, now regarded as a bona fide Americana music legend, he was commissioned as the artist in residence at Sequoia National Park in northern California. “Writing songs while standing under 2000-year-old sequoias does tend to give you a leg up” he comments dryly.
Here In The Sequoias references the "sacred mountain air" in which the songs were penned and John Muir Stood Here is dedicated to the pioneering environmentalist known as the 'Father of the National Parks' in the USA.
Otherwise, he is not slavishly reverent towards his surroundings. The instrumental title track rocks like a modern day theme to Rawhide while Many Happy Hangovers To You celebrates a life of revelry.
Other notable numbers include John The Baptist Was A Real Humdinger ("he screamed the truth like a drunk folk singer"); a song about a disillusioned Confederate conscript (I'm Walking Home) and the self explanatory God Bless The Ramones.
Backed by the core rhythm section from his first rock band, 'Shakespeare’s Riot', and other Nashville musicians this is a rough'n'ready good-humoured collection and it's plain to hear that Ringenberg had a blast while making it.
He may be longer in the tooth but this is an album by a troubadour cowboy who is not ready to hang up his spurs just yet.
Jason Ringenberg's website