‘I LISTENED TO OUTSIDE VOICES AS OPPOSED TO MY INNER VOICE'
Rachel Devine uncovers the peculiar triple life of Jason Ringenberg, one of the stars of this year's Glasgow Americana Festival
f there was ever a singer who fits the dewy-eyed. British notion of Americana as thinking man's country music. it would be Jason Ringenberg. With
the social conscience of Steve liarle. the cheekbones of
(a young) Johnny Cash. the punk aesthetic of Joey Ramone and a voice that's pure honky tonk. he is the embodiment of the nu-country man. And as his alter ego, Farmer Jason. he's even down with the kids. Ringenberg was in Glasgow earlier this month with his long-time band the Scorchers to promote a new ‘best of’ album. Best Trucks and Side Trucks 1979- 2007. a compilation of his first 30 years in the business. He returns for the Glasgow Americana l‘estival. but it could be some time before he tours again for grown ups. After three decades of spit and sawdust he has made the decision to direct all his energies. for the time being. into his country-for-kids persona l’armer Jason. In what seems like perfect timing. the American Music
Association will present Jason and the Scorchers with a
lifetime achievement award later in the year. ‘l’ve put a lot of energy into my solo singer-
songwriter career in the last ten years. and now with I
the Farmer Jason stuff I‘m entering a new phase of my life.” he says. ‘It was time to make a statement about what I‘ve done to date.‘
The pre-teen market may seem an odd choice for a singer who has built a career on tales of death and woe.
and influenced the likes of Ryan Adams. Richmond .
Fontaine and Wilco. but having grown up on a hog
farm in Illinois. Ringenberg is emminently qualified to
school children in the ways of the working country. ‘Farmer Jason was never meant to be the central part
66 THE LIST I)? May 5) Jun .9008
of my career.’ he admits. ‘I made a character for my three little girls. I never expected it to take off.‘
But take off it has and Ringenberg is struggling to cope with the demand to hear him sing ‘Whoa There Pony" and ‘l‘m Just an Old (‘ow‘. There's plenty of the Jason Ringenberg of old in the songs for younger ears.
Meanwhile. Best Trucks and Side Trucks is a ‘farewell for now". After 30 years there was a lot of material to wade through.
‘I don't particularly like listening to myself.‘ he says. ‘lt was a very tedious process. so ljust ended up asking some friends what they would do. I listened to outside voices. as opposed to my inner voice.‘
Ringenberg joins Kinky l‘riedman. The Wailin' Jennys. Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian and (ilasgow alt.country outlit Doghouse Roses on the bill for the second and extended (ilasgow Americana Festival next month. The brainchild of Kevin Morris. who runs Americana club liallen Angels. it's testament to the growing popularity of alt.country and Americana on the west coast of Scotland.
‘I think the Festival has a widespread appeal not just for those music lovers who are already aware of the artistes but for others. too.’ says Morris. 'l have bought tickets in the past for shows by Jason Ringenberg and The Wailin’ Jennys so. as a fan. I‘m really pleased they are coming to (ilasgow for the Festival.‘
Glasgow Americana Festival, various venues, Sat 24-31 May. For full details see listings, page 71. Jason Ringenberg plays Blackfriars, Glasgow, Tue 27 May.
I. THE BEST ROCK, PIOP, JAZZ & FOLK
$- Santogold Part of the crew that includes MIA and Uber producers Diplo and Switch. Santo does rock meets reggae and hip hop uptown. See preview, page 37. Sub Club, Fri 30 May. (Rock & Pop, Clubs) #2 Glasgow Festival of Americana See preview, left. Various venues, Glasgow, Sat 24—Sat 31 May. (Rock & Pop) 3%: Le Weekend More outlandish trips to the outer regions of music in the esteemed company of Evan Parker. Annette Peacock , Hamid Drake. The Pastels and more. See preview, page 67. Various venues, Stirling. Fri 23—Sun 25 May. (Jazz)
at: Public Enemy Chuck D and crew dust down their legendary album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back for this Don't Look Back series event. See preview. page 67. ABC, Glasgow. Tue 27 May. (Rock 8. Pop)
3%: The Death Set Nutso electro punk from Baltimore. See Big Picture. page 9. Red, Edinburgh, Wed 28 May; The Captain's Rest, Glasgow. Thu 29 May. (Rock & Pop)
Leith Festival Covering a myriad of bases with shows from everyone from blues man Tam White to incendiary folk trio Lau to indie tykes St Jude‘s Infirmary. Various venues. Edinburgh, Fri 30 May—Sun 8 Jun. (Rock 8 Pop, Folk, Jazz) 3%: Sauchlehall Crawl Three gigs, 10 bands. one night, one ticket, equals a damn ﬁne night out. The Phantom Band, The Twilight Sad. The Ads and Jo Mango are among those playing. See preview. page 68. Various venues, Glasgow, Sun 7 Jun. (Rock 8. Pop)
2%: Ida Maria Fiesty punk pop with soul, humour and wit all the way from the Arctic Circle. See preview, page 18. King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sun 1 Jun. (Rock & Pop)