Pioneering Americana legend Jason Ringenberg announces March UK tour, including The Greystones, Sheffield on Tuesday March 26, in support of acclaimed new album Stand Tall, the long-awaited follow up to Empire Builders in 2004 and his first collection of new songs, outside of his Farmer Jason project, since Jason & The Scorchers’ Halcyon Times in 2010.
What do you get when you place Americana music legend Jason Ringenberg in a grove of Giant Sequoias? You end up with an inspiring new record called Stand Tall, the long-awaited follow up to Empire Builders (2004) and his first collection of new songs, outside of his Farmer Jason project, since The Scorchers’ Halcyon Times in 2010. But Ringenberg is no stranger to making inspired records. As far back as 1984 Rolling Stone said that his Fervor record (with Jason and the Scorchers) “singlehandedly rewrote the history of rock ‘n’ roll in the South.”
Stand Tall was conceived and penned in June 2017 while Ringenberg was commissioned as the artist in residence at Sequoia National Park in northern California. The National Park Service put him up in a remote mountain cabin for a month to write songs and perform concerts there. “I found that spending so much time alone in that primal wilderness did wonders for my songwriting,” said Ringenberg.
The result is a record filled with characters on a mission; from John the Baptist (‘John the Baptist was a Real Humdinger’) to John Muir (‘John Muir Stood Here’) to a disillusioned Confederate conscript (‘I’m Walking Home’). There is even a song about Jason’s experiences opening for the Ramones through Texas in 1982 called ‘God Bless the Ramones’. It speaks volumes that Jason would write a song about the Ramones while standing in the shadow of the Charles Young sequoia, named after the first African-American national park head ranger and US Army Colonel.
To record the album, Ringenberg returned to his old haunts in the backwoods of Southern Illinois. He and the core rhythm section from his first rock band, Shakespeare’s Riot, hunkered down in a studio with a tin roof and a rural soul. That down-home environment gave Ringenberg the freedom to dig deep into his musical heritage. Fleshing out the sound, Ringenberg enlisted the help of some of Nashville’s finest Americana musicians, such as Richard Bennett (producer of Steve Earle’s Guitar Town), Fats Kaplin (Jack White, John Prine), Steve Fishell (Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band), and Robert Bowlin (fiddle player for Bill Monroe.)
The chemistry of those artists, combined with songs written in a place of profound natural beauty, yields one of the most authentic records of Ringenberg’s career. “Writing songs while standing under 2000-year-old sequoias does tend to give you a leg up,” said Jason.
Jason Ringenberg · March 2019 UK Tour
Thu 21 Leicester The Donkey
Sat 23 High Wycombe Kingsmead House Concert
Sun 24 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café
Tue 26 Sheffield The Greystones
Wed 27 London What’s Cookin’ @ Leytonstone Ex-Servicemens Club
Thu 28 Glasgow The CCA, Club Room
Fri 29 Newcastle-upon-Tyne The Cluny 2
Jason Ringenberg was born and raised on an Illinois hog farm that bordered the Rock Island Line Railroad. He left for Nashville July 4 1981 to pursue his dream of “making a band that could kick American roots music into the modern age!” Little did he know just how far the kick would go. He immediately formed Jason and the Scorchers and never looked back. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s they tore up venues across the planet and became known as one of the most exciting live bands in music. On classic LPs like Fervor and Lost and Found they “singlehandedly rewrote the history of rock ‘n roll in the South.” (Rolling Stone) Their instinctive ability to combine traditional country music with high-energy punk rock has not been surpassed to this day. In 2008 they were awarded the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance.
Never one to rest on his laurels, in 1999 the “Godfather of Americana” (Mojo) decided to go solo. He has released five Jason Ringenberg records, with everyone from the BBC to USA Today lauding his songwriting. His high octane one man show prompted The Times to call him “one of the most exciting performers of his generation.” In 2002 he created a children’s music character called Farmer Jason, winning numerous awards including an Emmy for his PBS video program. Often this relentless barnstormer will do a Farmer Jason kids show in the daytime and a Jason Ringenberg concert at night in the same city.
This man never rests. His new record Stand Tall was written while doing the Artist in Residence program for the National Park Service at Sequoia National Park. It is not hard to imagine him writing songs while climbing a 10000 foot Sierra Nevada mountain! That restless spirit will not be stilled.