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Jason & the Scorchers

Clear Impetuous Morning – 1996 (Mammoth)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Jason & the Scorchers

Is there a musical term so overused as "country-rock?" Applied with equal inaccuracy to Gram Parsons (who rightfully insisted his music was just plain country) and Firefall (who were neither), the term seems to have lost all right to exist. But it needs to live for albums like this.

This album rocks, it kicks ass almost non-stop from start to finish, guitars blazing through almost every track with punk-rock intensity and volume. But it is country as well, if only because Jason Ringenberg's voice is more naturally twangy than most alternative-country whiners. There's also a duet with Emmylou Harris on one of the album's few mellow moments, "Everything Has A Cost." Things slow a bit in the second half, but it's hardly "easy listening." Most of the material is new, but also included is a reworking of "Drug Store Truck Driving Man,"The Byrds' less than affectionate tribute to the still ubiquitous Ralph Emery.

Other memorable songs include "Victory Road" and "Self-Sabotage." This is a great party album, though for just sitting and listening the almost non-stop sensory bludgeoning will eventually prove to be too much for some people.