Speeding up the Plow–Jason Ringenberg and Farmer Jason (Live review)

photo by Paul Needham

Jason Ringenberg
Hunter-Gatherer, Columbia SC
July 2nd, 2010

Jason Ringenberg laughed a little when he commented from the stage at last night’s solo acoustic show in Columbia, South Carolina that “I make more from playing Farmer Jason shows than I do with this,” but it was a self-deprecating chuckle. The kids may be alright with his more elementary music, but he’s still regarded by many as an electrifying live performer and a driving force in the 80’s upsurge in roots-rock, cowpunk, or whatever you want to call what ended up labeled “Alternative Country” due to his original band Jason & The Scorchers.
For the kids, Ringenberg had indeed played a matinee show as his overalls-wearing alter ego, Farmer Jason, but he’s not your average children’s music performer–not when he’s playing amped-up tunes like, “Punk Rock Skunk.”
Several parental units came back for more adult material at the late show, and with all the old Scorchers fans in attendance it wasn’t a surprise that the majority of the two sets drew from the classic albums Fervor and Lost and Found.
Ringenberg plays acoustic shows a lot like he does the full band gigs, with lots of jumping around, leg kicks, and dancing. The partisan crowd sang along to classics such as “Lost Highway”, “Harvest Moon,” and, “Shop It Around,” at one point so loudly that Ringenberg stopped mid-strum and said, “I feel like Bruce Springsteen up here.”
It was a night for nostalgia, to be sure, but Ringenberg managed to fit in some lesser known songs from both his solo career and the later Scorchers catalog; he may play to the crowd but he’s still making vital music thirty years into a career that shows signs of continuing far past the time the current Farmer Jason fan base hits legal drinking age.


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