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Published: Wednesday, 10/7/2009

'Farmer Jason' in area show

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - Adding the persona "Farmer Jason" to his musical repertoire was a career-altering move for Jason Ringenberg.

Because of it, Mr. Ringenberg, who challenged the Nashville music scene in the early 1980s with his fusion of punk, hard rock, and honky-tonk country, has struck a chord with music lovers under four foot tall.

"It's quite a different world now. There is no question that Farmer Jason has grown organically and is the main focus of my career," said Mr. Ringenberg in a recent interview.

Mr. Ringenberg, as Farmer Jason, will perform at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Ellis Reference and Information Center, 3700 S. Custer Road.

Mr. Ringenberg, 50, has created two CDs of children's music: A Day at the Farm With Farmer Jason (2003) and Rockin' in the Forest (2006).

The songs on the releases range from barn-yard hoedowns ranging from "He's A Hog Hog Hog" and "A Guitar Pickin' Chicken" to singsongs "The Tractor Goes Chug Chug Chug" and "Punk Rock Skunk."

The free, family-oriented show will make Mr. Ringenberg's fifth appearance at a Monroe County Library System venue.

In 2006, his "Moozapalooza!" show was part of the monthlong acts for the annual Black History Month Blues Series in February.

"Whenever we play in Monroe the place is filled with folks. I always look forward to play in the area," he said.

The transition to Farmer Jason was purely unintentional as the kids songs he initially wrote had only been meant to be enjoyed by his three daughters, now ages, 9, 11, and 19, while he away on tour.

The songs grew into a recording project that became commercially successful.

Mr. Ringenberg was lead singer of Jason & the Scorchers, which burst onto the music scene in 1983 with the release of the EP "Reckless Country Soul." He has released 17 CDs as a solo artist or with his band.

The Farmer Jason act now comprises 90 percent of his touring dates, including many appearances in Europe.

Along the way, he earned a spot on the top five children's CDs of 2003 by Disney's magazine, Family Fun. In January, he won a regional Emmy for his PBS video, It's A … Farmer Jason.

Mr. Ringenberg said he is pleasantly surprised at his success in winning over toddlers and tots as well as their moms and dads.

"I don't why but it certainly seems to work. Even in Europe, I am having quite a bit of success," he said.



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