My wife has stated on numerous occasions that I’m ”a closet hillbilly.” Sure, there might be some facts to back that up seeing as I have family with rural roots, own more than one DUKES OF HAZZARD t-shirt, think that KENNY ROGERS is a National Treasure, own quite a few of those old Time-Life Country collections on vinyl, and just last week I went to four stores looking for a copy of the new SHOOTER JENNINGS album on an archaic format called a ”compact disc” (I found it at Walmart). Factor in the amount of time I spend gardening, and… The Rock Father™ will neither confirm nor deny the accusation officially. What I will say is that I like the new album from FARMER JASON and BUDDIES very much.
FARMER JASON (aka Jason Ringenberg of Jason & The Scorchers) is not only a fellow Native of Northern Illinois, but he also has a daughter named Addie (just like me!) and has assembled an impressive rogues gallery NATURE JAMS, with folks like Suzy Bogguss and Webb Wilder dropping by, along with members of THE BLACK CROWES, THE RAMONES, and R.E.M.
Blasting off with a 44-second title track bound to get the little ones shaking and grooving, Jason segues into the rest of the album by taking the role of “host,” talking to each guest and to the audience in between each track. The banjo-riffic (thanks to Alison Brown) rockin’ of Can You Canoe? shuffles down the river with a healthy reminder – always wear sunscreen!
There’s plenty of other great songs to enjoy, so let’s take a look at just a few of them…
Well Oh Whale is an interesting introduction to Celtic Rock for the little ones, as THE SAW DOCTORS provide a raucous backdrop for Jason’s tale of a whale that appears on the west coast of Ireland. In a lot of ways, Dison the Bison (with Webb Wilder and Steve Gorman) plays like the triumphant theme song of a non-existent TV show, that I would happily watch. Spelunker features the low-end rumble of CHEAP TRICK bassist Tom Petersson with guest vocals by Grammy-nominee Ruthie Foster.
On Manatee, Hank Williams III (who recently released three albums in one day – all of which I reviewed) joins Farmer Jason and Tommy Ramone to break out a tale “in honor of” the Manatee – a species that Hank III encountered while doing some shows in Florida. Lyrically, they explain these gentle creatures who often make their way into the Florida rivers.
There’s quite a bit of adventure to be experienced on NATURE JAMS (which includes a bonus DVD for those that grab a hard-copy), so much that the younger members of the crowd may not be able to make it through it all in one sitting. The 56-minute runtime can be exhausting (in a good way!) for the toddlers, so you might want to enjoy the power of FARMER JASON and his country-flavored rock in moderation. As with any good adventure, danger can be present, so it’s also notable that FARMER JASON and BUDDIES always remind their little listeners to get the permission of their “parents or caregivers” before attempting to head out on an adventure of their own, should they be inspired (and they will be) by songs about hiking, spelunking, visiting forests, or strapping on the ice skates.
The Rock Father Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: A copy of NATURE JAMS was provided to The Rock Father by Universal Music for the purpose of Review.