Jason Underground – Songs of Praise and Protest

Jason Underground
Songs of Praise and Protest
1994 (no label)
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Jason Underground – Vocals, guitars, harmonica

Joel Doswell – Beer box on “COPSEATFLOWERS” and “Pondering Asceticism”

Side 1:

  1. Talkin’ Freedom
  2. As Yet Untitled
  3. Love Rag
  4. 20 Looking Back
  5. Pondering Asceticism

Side 2:

  1. COPSEATFLOWERS (The Ballad of Rodney King)
  2. Rebuttal for Jerry
  3. Hard Times in San Luis Obispo
  4. 700 Ignorant Kids
  5. Strong Words

This is probably the demo from Jason Underground that most would be familiar with, seeing that some of these songs were present on many compilations back in the day (Especially “As Yet Untitled” if I remember correctly). I don’t think I have every learned what Jason’s real name is, but I am guessing there is someone out there who knows. If the title of the demo wasn’t clear enough, this is protest-style folk rock. Several Christians that try this style get tripped up by trying hard to sound like they are saying something deep, when they actually really aren’t. That generally comes from the fact they are trying more to attack things only on the other side of whatever issue they are on, rather than just let something profound about the issue come out and let the thought land where it may. The whole “I’m sticking with my pre-determined side of the issue no matter what” attitude just makes protest music come across as propaganda music. Jason seems to not fall into this trap, since he tends to criticize multiple sides of each issue he tackles in most cases. But that also means that he possibly will ruffle your feathers no matter where you fall on any particular issue. Most of the music here is acoustic guitar and vocals, with harmonica thrown in here and there, if you aren’t familiar with the genre.

Jason Underground – JPUSA Demo

Jason Underground
199? (no label)
Camarillo, California, USA

Jason Underground – Vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica

  1. Love Rag
  2. Earth Psalm
  3. As Yet Untitled
  4. The Ballad of Jesus Christ

This seems to be a short demo that Jason did to get a set at Cornerstone Festival. He is introducing the songs in between playing them. The versions of these songs mostly sound like the ones on his other releases, except that he plays “Love Rag” on a banjo. I haven’t heard “The Ballad of Jesus Christ” on his other demos, so it is either only on here, or on a demo I haven’t heard yet. He describes it as a “bonus track” just for JPUSA, though. Jason Underground was a Christian Underground regular, with his one man protest folk sound gaining fans of those that wanted to question weird stuff in the evangelical world as well as the larger world.

Jason Underground – Under an Extra Tent

Jason Underground
Under an Extra Tent
1989 The Furnace Room
East Canton, Ohio, USA

Jason Underground – Guitar, vocals, harmonica, cover art

All songs written by Jason Underground except “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Gutherie, and “Earth Psalms” by Jerod Burger and Jason Underground

Side 1:

  1. Love Rag
  2. Earth Psalm
  3. Four Movements
  4. Me Combate
  5. This Land is Your Land
  6. Under an Extra Tent

Side 2:

  1. 6 O’clock News
  2. The Prophet
  3. Talkin’ Freedom
  4. Sweet Girl
  5. I Can’t Find No Place

Jason Underground (real name: Jason Vaugn) was somewhat well known due to some of his songs appearing on various compilations in the 1990s. He is basically a one man acoustic protest folk show that produced a number of tapes. Some of the songs on this demo were recorded live at Cornerstone, and others were recorded at a home studio. The title “song” (“Under an Extra Tent”) is actually just some chatter and not a song. Some people don’t think Jason can sing – and I guess he really can’t at many points. But it is still an interesting listen that some would find engaging. He can definitely write some interesting lyrics. I can’t find any evidence that he released any more demos until 1994 (Songs of Praise and Protest and later Live at TOM 9-4-95) – but there may be more out there that are just hard to find.