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Last night was the opening night of the Jason Ringenberg residency at The 5 Spot in East Nashville. Ringenberg is the Jason from Jason and the Scorchers (the seminal Nashville band beginning in the early 1980s). He is also the Jason from Farmer Jason (host of a PBS kids show and creator of albums for children). His special guest for week 1 was Webb Wilder (another quintessential figure on the 80s Nashville music scene).
Playing to a pretty packed house, Ringenberg and Wilder really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Jason opened with "Halcyon Times" - the title track from a Scorchers album before turning the stage over to Webb Wilder who moved through a set that encompassed his long career. Including, classic Webb Wilder songs like "How Long Can She Last" and "Human Cannonball".
Ringenberg's set included several classic Scorcher's songs as well as songs from his solo albums, and a cover of "Trail of Tears" by the great Georgia band, Guadalcanal Diary.
Wilder then joined Ringenberg to close out the night by each singing a song by the other. Jason sang, "Sitting Pretty" from 1991's Doo Dad and Webb sang "Shop it Around" from the first full-length Scorchers album Lost and Found. They then performed a Farmer Jason song before closing the evening with a really awesome version of Buddy Holly's "Rave On".
Tonight, I am going to check out Joey Kneiser and his band at The East Room. His new album, The Wildness is getting rave reviews.
"Mary" by Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies
East Nashville songwriter Brian Wright is one of those rare performers who when you hear them for the first time, you think, "Who is this guy? Why did I not know about him before now? and Why doesn't everyone know about him?" He's that good. I have been fortunate enough to see him perform live several times over the last year or so, and he never, never fails to impress. He recently made a bunch of his music available digitally. This song is from an album called Dog Ear . If you don't know Brian Wright's music. Make yourself a New Year's Resolution to fix that right away.
"Hot Rod Lincoln" by Bill Kirchen
A classic rock and roll car song. The original version of this song was released in 1955 by the writer of the song Charley Ryan with The Livingston Brothers. It has been covered several times, notably in 1971 by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Kirchen was the lead guitar play for that version. His version of the song is notable for including a tribute to several of the great rock and roll guitar players - as imitated by Kirchen. Check it out - played live in the Video playlist.
"Every Road" by The Transcendents
We wrap up the EP Lay Where You Collapse which was released last July. The follow up, Common Ground was released in October. I really love the unique sound of this band from New Zealand - which is experimental but firmly grounded. This track is very evocative and the lyrics are top notch. At one point, the lyrics reference Bob Dylan's album Blood on the Tracks and Eleanor Catton's 2013 novel The Luminaries in the same stanza. (a silly but kind of cool aside, when I was tagging The Transcendents, I typed The Tr and among the suggestions offered was Blood on the Tracks.)"Dark Angel" by Gretchen Peters
A gorgeous song from Peters' 2012 album Hello Cruel World.
"Kiss Off" by Violent Femmes
The self-titled Violent Femmes album played such a important part in my younger days and to be honest, I never get tired to revisiting it. The teenaged angst here is so palatable. I don't know how many times I sang along to this at top volume just to try to express what was for me at the time so inexpressible.
"Lost to the Deep" by Simon Fagan
Singer, songwriter Simon Fagan was one of the earlier artists I covered on Ear to the Ground. I always dug his songs, but I had kind of lost touch for a while. Toward the end of 2015, though, I got this track from his new album Gilded Bird. I look forward to hearing the whole thing.
"To the Kill" by Violent Femmes
We close out the shuffle with another from Violent Femmes.