Jason and the Scorchers burn it up with their latest, “Halcyon Times” (Courageous Chicken)
By ‘Rebel’ Rod Ames
Jason and the Scorchers have been around for several decades, bringing us an array of music over the years. They have seen some great times and they have had some lean and difficult times. However, they have always persevered and managed to stay away from any major meltdowns that would eventually cause them to disintegrate, only to be absorbed into a black hole of egos, never to be heard from again. Thank the God of your understanding for that!
As you might expect from a band called Jason and the Scorchers, and a title like “Halcyon Times”, there is a heavy dose of burning electric guitars, but what really shines here is the tightness of this band. This is the first set of new songs released by them in many years, but by the sound of it all, they haven’t missed a beat.
I was talking to a good friend recently and we discussed this topic a bit. It seemed to us that so many artists appear to want to rush things so they can hurry and get to the top of the mountain in the music business, only to dilute their music into the almost unlistenable category of noisy pop crap in the process of accumulating the biggest pile of money.
The Scorchers took their time here and it shows. This an ingenious set of fourteen songs, each one seemingly surpassing the previous tune, resulting in a seamless blend of what I would call “instant classic Southern Rock” that should not be missed by anyone.
One of the things I love so much about my favorite two past times, listening to music and writing about it are several things can happen during the process; I won’t like the record and will never play it again. I will not like the record at first but will listen to it on a different day and like it or sometimes love it, or I will love it and will not be able to stop talking or writing or listening to the music. The latter would be the case here. If my copy of “Halcyon Times” had been vinyl, I most certainly would have worn the grooves down to nothing. This record is really that good.
The 14 songs on this record, of course, feature Jason Ringenberg and he is sensational, as is to be expected. However, the electric guitar via Warner E. Hodges is nothing less than astonishing on blazing hot guitar with his deeply rooted Southern Rock style of banging away at it. As Jason Ringenberg said in the liner notes, “…old burnt bridges were rebuilt, and new foundations were laid. Warner and I rediscovered how much we respect and admire each other. I do and will proclaim from the tallest Tennessee mountain that Warner E. Hodges is playing at his peak, and once again has raised the bar in the guitar star world.”
I could not have said it better myself.
The two leaders of the band are joined by Pontus Snibb on drums and harmony vocals, and Al Collins on bass, harmony vocals, and on at least one song, box pounding. They are aided with what are billed as Honorary Scorchers, Dan Baird on guitars, Ginger (preproduction), Tommy Womack (consultation), and Perry Baggs on harmony vocals on several tracks. The band had an enormous amount of additional aid from a cast of many more.
“Halcyon Times” is expertly produced by Warner E. Hodges and Brad Jones (plays piano on a cut or two as well). It came out this past April but I was slow to get to it. Man, am I ever sorry about that. I feel as if I have cheated myself. It’s here now though, and is not to be missed.
‘Rebel’ Rod says check it out!