Resplendent in gold cowboy shirt and sparkly hat Jason Ringenberg opened the show with Self-Sabotage recorded with The Scorchers on their Clear Impetuous Morning album. He delivered it with his trademark energy, foot-stompin' and guitar twirls. This was followed in similar fashion with another early Scorchers song Shop It Around. Jason then told us how much he admired the skills required to travel around Ireland on a bus, especially as an American in a cowboy hat, later he told us how an encounter with a stranger nearly came to blows as he walked up to the gig when the aforementioned citizen took offence to him for no apparent reason other than his choice of headgear. Throughout the show Jason regaled us with stories and anecdotes about the songs. He told us about meeting and befriending guitar legend Link Wray before playing the song of that name. Oh Lonesome Prairie was about his upbringing on a hog farm which later led to a tale of the castration of hogs as a young boy on his father's farm. He reiterated his long time love for Ireland and how when he had first visited these shores he took time to drive around the country side on his own. On the road Jason reads a lot and became interested in Irish history and also American history and these two things came together in the song Erin's Seed about the Irish fighting on opposing sides during the battle of Fredericksburg that was written on his visit to the Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots festival The American Civil War was also the setting for the song Bible And A Gun - a song that he had taken the liberty of revising the lyrics which were originally written with Steve Earle, for that momentous time period. It was also in Kilkenny where he met Hammil On Trial who appeared on the album version of Honky Tonk Maniac From Mars which he delivered with abandon. His inability to keep his guitar in tune was mentioned, "it's my style" he joked, but none of that really matters too much as Jason Ringenberg is a unique talent whether solo or with The Scorchers. He opened the show to requests mid-set and did covers then of Absolutely Sweet Marie, Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Loving On Your Mind) and Rainbow Stew as well as his own Rebel Flag In Germany. From the Farmer Jason side of his persona he performed Well Oh Whale (recorded with The Saw Doctors a band he much admires) and The Tractor Goes Chug Chug Chug. He walked off stage and played AP Carter's Lonesome Valley unplugged from the audience before taking the stage to play what he said was his final song, his favourite piece of poetry in the English language which turned out to be his equally demented version of The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated. He left with a smile on his face as did most of the audience. He had earlier said that he can still rock hard but it just takes longer to recover these days, he also occasionally resorted to lyrics on a music stand as "when you turn 38 you start to lose things" but age has not diminished his love of performance and the feedback he gets in front of a live audience. As his main gig now is as Farmer Jason these solo Jason Ringenberg gigs are special, as indeed this one was.
Review by Steve Rapid and photography by Ronnie Norton