7 February 2010
by Maurice Hope
Whenever Jason Ringenberg and his band make a record or take to the stage one thing is for sure, the level of energy, entertainment and standard of songwriting will be high. A wonderful story-teller, Jason and the Scorchers were born out of punk, cow-punk as they called it then, and now after a sabbatical the boys, Jason and founder member Warner E. Hodges to be exact, are back. Since Al Collins who is outstanding on bass and Pontus Snibb on drums are new to the band but regardless of this it is their first batch of new material since 1996.
It may be near on thirty years since Jason first burst on the scene, but his enthusiasm is as keen and fresh as it has ever been (and for those who have caught him play solo will surely vouch for this), and with the usual high octane energy expended little has changed over the years. Their music is still good with lots of twangy guitar, percussion and wild, innovative lyrics, there is rich vibrancy to it all. Have they ever sounded better, more cutting edge and rocked better than that heard on ‘Gettin’ Nowhere Fast’, for when it comes to classic fare it's the business (and for good measure there is a hint of the Quo present).
Whether the material has a lasting quality other than give the listener a feel good quality that is best left alone or relatively so, since I’m of the belief it is short term and best heard live. Jason like many really does view life as best lived for the moment. Of the songs most likely to grab the listener’s rapt attention and stay attached the tune ‘Twang Town Blues’ —an autobiographical piece that speaks of how he first came to Nashville and what a shock that must have been to both parties. Awash with typical go for broke, caught up in the euphoria of living life for the moment ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’, the big harmony filled rocker ‘When Did It Get So Easy (to lie To Me)’ and possessing 12-string guitar and lyrics evoking a feast of spare, stark imagery ‘Land Of The Free’ that possesses a slight 1960s feel or with his vocals pouring out a genuine feel of emotional content ‘Mother Of Greed’ has them hit pay dirt. While many will love the nostalgia of the boys getting back together it is Ringenberg as a solo recording act I go for these days and since time itself and the music has moved on are the Halcyon Times of good rock‘n’roll, cow-punk etc ageless? One thing is for sure, Jason Ringenberg and Warner E. Hodges come desperately close.