All Gigs

4 February 2010
by Simon Godley

Yeeha and giddy-up-a ding dong and ring those cowbells out loud because Jason & The Scorchers have recorded their first album of all new material since 1996's "Clear Impetuous Morning". When the band's Mr. Jason Ringenberg himself (and his alter-ego and children's favourite, Farmer Jason) had played a solo set at York's City Screen Basement Bar last July, he had promised us just as much, speaking about how great it had been to be working with Ginger from The Wildhearts and Dan Baird and how mighty fine it was all going to be.

Despite playing to only a disappointing handful of people at that show, his enthusiasm was infectious. But what he didn't tell us then was that due to a dearth of that good ol' Yankee dollar in his and original guitarist's Warren E. Hodges collective pocket and if it hadn't been for the Music Producer's Institute founder Steve Fishell offering the recently reformed band some studio time in return for letting people come into the recording sessions, the album would never have even happened at all. And we have much to be grateful for that it did. Because from the stuttering crescendo of the opening "Moonshine Guy/Releasing Celtic Prisoners" to the concluding crash and burn of "We've Got It Goin' On" the album melds rock, rhythm and blues, punk and country into one glorious fusion of cow-punk, sprinkled with some good old fashioned down-homesy charm. This joyful sound is one of people having themselves a real good time. As you hoist those britches and skirts and kick up your heels in time, you can just about see Ringenberg in his Stetson hat inhabiting the dead soul of Hank Williams and dancing wildly round the studio, Hodges by his side sparking up yet another crumpled cigarette from a packet of Kents and cranking out some of the most incendiary and insistent riffs you will hear this side of Texas. And all the while you can sense those good ol' boys and girls in the studio whooping and cheering along as the band cut all the basic tracks live.

Make no mistake about it, Jason & The Scorchers and back to whom you could probably trace the genesis of alt-country as we know it today when they emerged from Nashville in the early eighties, is back. And how? They are not merely content to kick over the traces of their former glories like some jaded end-of-the-pier show. No sirree, this is the sound of a reinvigorated and re-invented band who will be showcasing this album over here in May when they play a series of dates in the UK and Ireland. Miss them at your peril. Happy trails.