Jason Ringenberg “The Freedom Rides Weren’t Free” – Listen

Jason Ringenberg has a new album – do we need to remind anyone of Jason and the Scorchers?  Surely we do not.  So we say again – Jason Ringenberg has a new album heading this way in the Spring (April 2nd to be exact), and where it needs to be it’s as shit-kicking and barnstorming as anything that he’s done before.  But don’t take our word for it – take a listen to the first track to be released, ‘The Freedom Rides Weren’t Free.’  It’s a song on which Ringenberg takes some time out to remind people of the horrendous bigotry and violence that was faced in living memory when people had the temerity to stand up and say “everyone should be treated the same“.

Who’d have though an old bus could be a battleground? / Where klansmen joined the Governor to beat so many down” he questions, and questions those who’d deny the importance of these events – and the resonance of this history to this very day “you can quote your politics or US  history , but for those who rode those busses the freedom rides weren’t free.

Jason Ringenberg explained why he felt moved to write the song: “I had been kicking around the idea to write a song about the Freedom Riders. Those folks were young Black and white activists who challenged the segregated bus systems in the South during the early 1960s. They were beaten, jailed, insulted, attacked with fire bombs, and in some cases expelled from college for their efforts. One morning the whole song came to me. The hook intentionally mirrors the American phrase “freedom isn’t free.” I believe the Civil Rights Movement was the Second American Revolution, and all who participated in it were true American heroes. The song was written right before the major racial unrest during the summer of 2020.

About Jonathan Aird 2654 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard Bull

It’s a great album that he pulled together via pledges and recorded in Jim Reeve’s Old House though the drums do not sound distant. It’s a really full sound that has tints of rockabilly, gospel underlaying his trademark sound and riffs and like you say some powerful lyrics. For me it’s one of the best things” he has done and hopefully at some point we get to see live.
Look out for “once I rode with crazy horse” and “keep that promise” !