A Pocketful of Soulby Jason Ringenberg
Jason Ringenberg's first-ever solo album isn't about the kick-ass hard country that's the stock-in-trade of his pioneering cowpunk combo Jason and the Scorchers. Instead, the 12-song album combines a homey, mostly acoustic musical vibe with soul-searching lyrics that have plenty to say about faith, conviction, love, and honesty. Rarely has a father's love for his child been expressed with more heart-tugging conviction than in "For Addie Rose," with its lilting Irish melody buoying Ringenberg's devoted sentiments. At the other end of the scale is "The Price of Progress," an ode to the determination of a man who refuses to be moved from his family's land to make room for a TVA dam that will submerge everything in its path. "Merry Christmas My Darling," whose accordion and guitar hauntingly conjure the ambience of a Civil War-era ballad, finds a soldier asking about the state of things back home as he prepares for a desperate battle; the simple pleasures he hopes have endured in his absence reveal a man who has learned to treasure the little gestures of love and friendship that define all that is meaningful and precious about life. And that, ultimately, is what A Pocketful of Soul,, in all its ancient tones and sepia-toned tableaux, is all about.
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- JASON RINGENBERG
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