On a particularly sweltering summer afternoon in 1974, I stood on the small balcony of my upstairs duplex in the Notre Dame de Grace area of Montreal attempting to aerate my over-taxed armpits. In the corner of one ear, I detected the rapid crescendo of cranked-up music emanating from an approaching, as-yet-unseen vehicle. As the offending, top-down convertible screeched around the corner from Sherbrooke onto Marcel Avenue, the song’s identity became shockingly clear. The tune deafening my neighborhood was “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by benign, bespectacled pop-folkie John Denver. To this day, I still chuckle over the irony of that driver brazenly blasting syrup-y, sweet Denver – of all artists – from the stereo of his muscle car. Recently, while perusing the iTunes Store, I stumbled across another equally popular John Denver number – one that, oddly enough, would have made perfect sense pumping from the speakers of that long-ago noisy ragtop. Ironically, there is actually nothing whatsoever ironic about “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as rendered by Jason and The Scorchers. In fact, the seminal cowpunkers’ raucous approach to this overly cheerful homecoming anthem states the song’s message as clearly – and perhaps even more directly – than did its composer’s original, chart-topping recording. For me, the true irony is that The Scorchers’ track was recorded 30 years ago. In a town famous for honoring its songwriters, Jason Ringenberg’s notoriety has always been less about genuflecting to its tune-smithing tradition and more about abducting a composition, wrestling it to the ground, and stomping the holy crap out of it – as he did with such... Sign In to Keep Reading
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