Jack Ingram "Jack Ingram" (Rhythmic, 1992)
Jack Ingram "Lonesome Question" (Rhythmic, 1995)
Jack Ingram "Live At Adair's" (Universal/Rising Tide, 1996)
Jack Ingram "Livin' Or Dyin'" (Universal/Rising Tide, 1997)
I once got into a mild tiff with a pal who said he thought Jack Ingram was a lousy songwriter... I, on the other hand, was somewhat taken by this album which had better pickin' and plunkin' on it than most of the alt.crowd twangsters that were out at the time. Okay, so now a few later, sitting down to write this page, I find I have to agree with my pal -- Ingram had a good band, but his songwriting is only so-so, and his hick accent is a little on the exaggerated side, and his phrasing is a little rough. It also didn't help that, after this, he put out a couple of really lousy albums, which kind of shook me out of my spell... Still, this album is worth checking out... hey, he even got Jerry Jeff Walker to guest on one track, so how hard can we be on the guy?
Jack Ingram "Hey You" (Sony/Little Dog, 1999)
Jack Ingram/Bruce Robison/Charlie Robison "Unleashed Live" (Sony/Little Dog, 2000)
A nice live album which opens with several Bruce Robison tracks, then moves on to brother Charlie and his tales of excess and woe, then onto the harsher-toned, electrified Mr. Ingram. Bruce Robison's stuff is the most traditional sounding and pleasant, particularly on a duet with Charlie, and another sung with Kelly Willis (a different-sounding version of "Angry All The Time"). It's nice, too, to hear how Charlie connects to his jovial following of would-be rowdies; Ingram is perhaps the least appealing of the trio -- his work seems a bit blunt and overly sarcastic. A nice snapshot of these three like-minded fellers in an informal live setting.
Jack Ingram "Electric" (Sony/Little Dog, 2002)
Hmmm. Aptly titled, this disc is, in a weird way, one of the most irritating albums I've ever heard. Ingram is all Steve Earled-out, in the musclebound, wannabee-a-biker kinda way that Earle took so long to get over. Some of the songs are pretty lame -- several grouchy, repetitively simplistic tirades about how f**ked life can be. A few songs have better lyrics and more interesting structure, but the tinny, blaring rock guitars always seem to ruin even the best ones. Only one song, the softer, more reflective "Goodnight Moon" really resonates with me. I've like Ingram for years and wanna hang with what he's up to, but this disc is just a little too self-indulgent and aggro for me.
Jack Ingram "Electric: Extra Volts" (EP) (Sony/Little Dog, 2003)
A belated, but much-welcomed addendum to Ingram's somewhat clunky album of the preceding year. This 5-song EP features several suprisingly resonant gems, particularly the laconic Fourth of July ditty, "Red White And Blues," which casts a disaffected eye towards all forms of glib patriotic hoopla, the witty, cynical "She Don't Love You," and the pleasantly quiet, I'll-be-there romantic ballad, "Run To Me." Even the opening track, "A Little Bit," with its strong melodic rock base, is more subtle and interesting than most of the material on the album this disc accompanies. Recommended... it's just a shame he wasn't as thoughtful and interesting on the full-length.
Jack Ingram "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" (Smith's Music Group, 2003)
Jack Ingram "Live At Gruene Hall: Happy Happy" (Ram Records, 2004)
Jack Ingram "Acoustic Motel" (Ram Records, 2005)
Jack Ingram "Live: Wherever You Are" (Big Machine, 2005)
Jack is back, with a high-energy live set that showcases him and his raunchy Beat-Up Ford Band at their best... There's also a new studio track that kicks the album off -- one of those generic, swirly, sorta-Nashville-pop songs that Pat Green has been recording the last couple of years -- but the real meat here is in the concert material, where Ingram clearly connects with his audience and gives 'em exactly what they want. It's a lively, good-humored performance which occasionally slips into guitar-hero wailing, but mostly shows a real command of hard-country soulfulness. Great way to check this guy out.
Jack Ingram "This Is It" (Big Machine, 2007)
(Produced by Jerry Stover, Doug Lancio & Jack Ingram)
Success was a long time coming for Texan Jack Ingram... He'd been plugging away for fifteen years in the netherworld between outlaw Americana and the Nashville mainstream, filling roughly the same niche as Steve Earle or Radney Foster... Finally, he decided to tamp down the twang and pump up the volume, laying down his most nakedly commercial album to date. It's paid off handsomely: Ingram hit gold, literally, with a #1 single, "Wherever You Are," and became an unlikely chart-topper after all those years as a rough'n'tumble road warrior. Longtime fans may feel let down, since this is a soft, ballad-oriented set, the smooth, croony stuff that snakes its way up the charts in between all the novelty songs and neotrad honkytonk. It is surprising that Ingram so thoroughly ditched his gritty side for this record, but I can't blame him, and I know a lot of Top Country fans will enjoy a disc like this (...as will fans of Sheryl Crow, who appears as a guest star on "Hold On"...) For now, Ingram is riding high, although if he can backpedal and reconnect with his old fans -- or whether he'll want to -- remains to be seen.
Jack Ingram "Big Dreams & High Hopes" (Big Machine, 2009)
Jack Ingram "Young Man" (Sony, 2004)
A compilation of his first two records, Jack Ingram, and Lonesome Question, from lo, those many years ago... Nice chance to hear this Texas alt-stalwart in his early years...
Hick Music Index