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BISHOP HILL — Jason Ringenberg, an artist familiar to many people in the Kewanee area, will perform two concerts beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Commons in Bishop Hill.
The concert will be part of the Heartland Connections series that will bring live music to Bishop Hill, Cambridge and Galva this year.
Ringenberg said, “I am over the moon about doing the concert in Bishop Hill. I have often visited there as a child and an adult. To be performing in that historic town to folks that share my heritage and memories will be a high point for me.”
As “Farmer Jason,” Ringenberg has performed a number of concerts for Kewanee school children.
But he’s known far beyond this part of Illinois.
Ringenberg today proudly says that he grew up on a hog farm next to the Rock Island Railroad tracks northwest of Sheffield. He graduated from Western High School in 1977, and by 1981 had formed a band called Jason and the Scorchers. They left for Nashville on July 4, 1981.
That band combined modern rock with traditional country, and had an impact on both genres of music.
In fact, a Rolling Stone writer wrote that Jason and the Scorchers “single-handedly rewrote the history of rock ’n roll in the South.” They were an important enough part of the development of today’s music that there is an exhibit on the band in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They also received the American Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance in 2008.
Ringenberg, who now lives in the Nashville area, developed the Farmer Jason character and started the performances for young people in 2002 because “It seemed like the natural thing to do,” he said.
For 10 years he came to the Kewanee High School auditorium to perform for elementary-school kids.
While he still sometimes works with a band, he’s primarily a solo artist now. A highlight of his career came last year when he performed at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for the Grand Ole Opry.
In an interview this week, Ringenberg promised a “high-energy show” in Bishop Hill which will be “a little bit country, a little bit Americana and a little punk rock.”
A biography of Ringenberg on his website concludes, “So don’t go to his concerts expecting to see a sensitive singer-songwriter sitting on a stool. With his acoustic guitar and high-energy charisma, he WILL rock the house!”
This article originally appeared on Star Courier: Jason Ringenberg drops 'farmer' 'high-energy' show Bishop Hill Jan. 29