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Jason & The Scorchers give it back

Mercy Lounge, Nashville, September 18, 2008

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Maybe it was the joy of winning a lifetime achievement award from the Americana Music Association earlier in the night, but Jason & The Scorchers were up to their old tricks later that night in concert. That meant a combo of punk and country elements, something referred to as cowpunk, all in good fun.

While the band has not played all that much together in recent years, their quite generous two-hour effort before an enthusaistic crowd did not seem any worse the wear. Jason Ringenberg, the lead singer, decked out in a long black and white cowboy jacket was in fine form. He spins and twirls with the same energy of old, and his vocals remain sturdy, holding notes with a bit of a twang.

The other key player is guitarist Warner Hodges. His energy also was palpable whether spinning the guitar around his back or just himself. But more importantly was his guitar playing, which as usual added a lot of bite to the songs.

The songs reached through The Scorchers' catalogue. There may been a bit of a sameness at points to the songs, but the energy level remained high throughout whether on their best known song, Shop it Around or on Greetings from Nashville. The band certainly doesn't take itself too seriously. Ringenberg joked at one point in introducing Cappuccino Rosie, "Here's a song from our newest record, back in 1996."

Former member Jeff Johnson, who left about a decade ago, showed up both at the AMA awards show and at the concert, guesting on acoustic guitar on one song. "It never sounds quite right without Jeff," Ringenberg said. The ballad proved to be a very good change of pace.

Jason & The Scorchers brought a different kind of sound years ago to country and rock, though the country crowd was never going to play the music. But the band received its just due earlier in the night and gave it back later.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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