Kid-friendly rustic rockabilly
Since 2002, Jason Ringenberg has been combining dual musical careers. By night, as he has done for the last 30 years, he fronts the punk-infused rockabilly outfit Jason & The Scorchers, but by day he dons dungarees and becomes Farmer Jason, playing songs for children in schools.
On his alter ego’s second album, Ringenberg invites some famous friends to join in the fun, with Mike Mills (“… from one of history’s great American rock bands, REM!”) advocating regular exercise on the jaunty Take A Hike, and Cheap Trick’s Tom Peterson signing up for cave exploration on Spelunker. Naturally, all these activities are to be done with the express permission of, or accompaniment by, a parent, the safety first message prevalent throughout.
As a celebration of the outdoor life, it’s one long fun ride, with Farmer Jason leading a countrified hillbilly charge on Skating Along, his own young daughters on backing vocals, and playing splendidly catchy songs about wildlife (The Moose Lives Where?, Dison The Bison). Educational without being stuffy, cute without being mawkish, Ringenberg cuts a fine figure throughout as troubadour, tour guide and teacher.
Reviewed by Terry Staunton