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Jason Ringenberg

A Pocketful Of Soul – 2000 (Courageous Chicken)

Reviewed by Dan Williams

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CDs by Jason Ringenberg

Jason Ringenberg earned his spurs as leader and singer of Jason & The Scorchers, a barn-burning combo well ahead of the alt.-country curve. Given that band's propensity for overdrive (think guitarist Warner Hodges spinning in circles), this solo release is a suprising low-keyed charmer.

Originally intended to be distributed solely to family & friends, "Pocketful" is a largely acoustic back-to-rudiments move. Call it front-porch Jason.

"Oh Lonesome Prairie" pays tribute to his Illinois farm roots, complete with wind-rustling sound effects. Elsewhere, he serves up the inspired yawp of "Under Your Command," the hard twang of the title track, and ballads like "For Addie Rose"- a heartfelt paean to his young daughter. Added bonus attractions: the fiery instrumental "Hay Baling Time," and a straight, and beautifully-sung take on the standard "Whispering Pines," most commonly-associated with the late Johnny Horton.

Ringenberg Unplugged stands solidly alongside his band's rowdier, more electrified efforts.