AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION AWARD
Jason & The Scorchers were awarded a prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Performance Award at the annual The Americana Music Association’s Americana Honors and Awards on September 18, 2008.
The original Jason & The Scorchers line-up of Jason Ringenberg, Warner Hodges, Jeff Johnson and Perry Baggs were not only hand not only to accept the honor, but to performed together for the first time in more than a decade. Taking the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville the band performed Harvest Moon and the Hank Williams
standard Lost Highway both staples of the Scorchers live show since the early eighties.
Jason later said of the evening:–
“It was an unforgettable career moment to be on that stage singing Harvest Moon, hearing Perry’s harmonies echo in the rafters. Jeff, in spite of not really playing bass anymore, rose to the occasion and played great. And of course Warner was in top form. He always is these days. The last time we all played together was
1996. After Harvest Moon we ripped into Lost Highway. I think we did Hank justice. He probably sang that song on that stage way back yonder. I can’t predict the future, but I would imagine that is the last time the original band will do anything like that.”
The AMA press release summed up the bands legacy as follows: -
“It’s a mantra – a cliché: “To succeed, you have to be first, different or better.” Many pioneers whose music is savoured from the moment of conception to generation after generation have fallen under this sing-songy definition of success in one way or another. But Jason & The Scorchers embodied all three prongs of the hypothesis.
They were punk. They were country. They were rock. Perhaps most of all, they were originals. Jason & The Nashville Scorchers, as they were originally called, were messiahs for a 1980’s American rock scene suffering from a slight inferiority complex and aching for pride and grit. Together, frontman Jason Ringenberg, guitarist Warner Hodges, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Perry Baggs, personified roots music experimentation, boasting an unparalleled respect for and familiarity with honky tonk, while wielding innate punk savvy. It wasn’t just how they said it: What they were saying also resonated. Ringenberg’s songwriting often drew heady thematic comparisons to Southern Gothic literary giants like Flannery O’Conner or William Faulkner, and Hodges’ influential guitar work roared in response as the scorching backbone of their euphoric sound’s dual-personality. The group’s spirited interpretations of traditional country classics by journeymen including Hank Williams were uninhibited celebrations of hillbilly soul. Their arguably unprecedented mix’s live translation is now legendary: The Scorchers infused the soul of Gram Parsons with the fury of the New York Dolls, shepherded by a lead vocalist who channeled both Faron Young and Iggy Pop. National and subsequent international acclaim arrived on the heels of major label albums and on the strength of live shows, released in conjunction with and steadily guided by early indie hometown believers Praxis. Instead of shying away from their southern roots, Jason and the Scorchers owned them, and quite simply, they made Nashville proud.
It’s often said that art’s impact is most accurately gauged looking backward, after the silt settles to the bottom and some sort of clear context emerges. Jason and the Scorchers’ profound effect on the international music scene and more specifically, what rock bands felt they could accomplish, was historic, with ramifications still blissfully felt today.”
After the awards ceremony, Jason and Warner were joined by Al Collins and Fenner Castner to perform a barnstorming set of classic Scorchers songs at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge.