Listen to the rip-snortin' "Honky Tonk Maniac From Mars," the opening cut from Jason Ringenberg's latest album, All Over Creation, and you'll find it hard to believe that two decades have passed since Ringenberg and his band, the Scorchers, helped birth the alt-country movement with their debut EP, "Fervor," and its shitkicking version of Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie." As far in his past as that landmark effort may be, the Illinois native can still kick up a cowpunk ruckus potent enough to peel paint.
For the most part, though, Ringenberg has been heading in a mellower direction lately. His previous effort, Pocketful of Soul, was a mostly acoustic meditation on the values of hearth and home. The aptly titled All Over Creation is a more ambitious work, ranging from pop and rock to country and folk and boasting an impressive supporting cast, including Steve Earle, Paul Burch, Lambchop and BR549.
When Ringenberg performs at Off Broadway, his opening act will be Brian Henneman (pictured) (of the Bottle Rockets and Diesel Island). Henneman arguably owes his livelihood to Jason and the Scorchers and a few other hard-twangin' bands of so long ago. But it's a good match, because Henneman has always done the tradition proud.