Photo by Gregg Roth
He may have a larger-than-life career as an award-winning musical pioneer in the alt-country world, but for Jason Ringenberg, it’s the smallest things that have brought him the most success. And that’s meant literally: Ringenberg, who’s famous for founding Nashville’s Jason & the Scorchers and has earned the title of “Godfather of Americana,” decided a little over a decade ago to try his hand at making music especially for his youngest fans.
Inspired by his own kids, he developed the persona of “Farmer Jason,” entertaining children with rocking tunes based on his own childhood growing up on a farm. Three albums later, he’s become so popular in the kids’ space that he’s won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and even starred in his own PBS program which itself has won an Emmy. Now, the offbeat entertainer is releasing his very first Christmas record, an idea that’s been “incubating” in his mind for some years. After finally diving in last winter, Christmas On The Farm is now available just in time for the start of the holiday season.
The record – which was 100% funded by fan contributions — includes an even split of six originals plus six holiday standards which Farmer Jason selected to round out the project. And these original tunes aren’t your average carols! Farmer Jason explains that all he wants for Christmas is “a punk rock skunk,” notes that Santa sometimes gives his reindeer a rest and hops on a John Deere instead, and implores everyone to simply eat your fruitcake, already!
“I think ‘Eat Your Fruitcake’ is my favorite original on the record,” he laughs. “Let’s face it folks: throwing those holiday fruitcakes away is using up our landfills!”
The whole family will be hopping to their feet to the smokin’ rock- and punk-tinged riffs that accompany the fun lyrics; plus parents will appreciate that Farmer Jason also adds a little education in with the giggles, using the more serious framework of the Christmas classics.
“My goal with this recording is to not only entertain families during the Holiday Season but also to subtly teach children something about the rural connections to Christmas traditions,” he explains, adding, “’Away In A Manger’ was chosen to show how farm animals played a major role in the Christmas story.”
Overall it’s easy to hear how much enjoyment went into the making of the album. “Recording this record was pure joy for me,” the singer-songwriter notes. “To sing these lovely old Christmas songs with such brilliant musicians was something I will always treasure. ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing,’ for example, was done with Dave Roe (Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings’ band) and Molly Felder singing live around a piano. There was a sparking magic to the sessions that transfers to the listener.”
The album, co-produced by Grammy nominated producer Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz, is ostensibly aimed at children, but is sure to appeal to adults who are seeking fresh holiday music with a bit of sophistication that the entire family can enjoy. Farmer Jason, whether performing in character or as Jason Ringenberg, has amassed a remarkable amount of accolades and awards over his 35-year career, including the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award and an exhibition of himself and the Scorchers in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.
For more information, please visit www.farmerjason.com