14 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jack Ingram plays catchy twang pop and country rock without sounding like a ‘70s throwback or an alt-country hopeful. His honky-tonk approximations make Livin’ or Dyin’ sound wonderfully rootsy, and the songs play with a timelessness that you just don’t hear in the albums of most late ‘90s new traditional hat acts. “Nothin’ Wrong With That” opens playfully using simple chords and a sing-along melody as Ingram’s textured voice muses on a bumpkin-themed romance. Things get a little more rockabilly on “Big Time” — a bouncy ditty that boasts some impressive lap steel licks by Tommy Hannum. Ingram also takes on some tasteful covers: Guy Clark’s “Rita Ballou” retains Texan tones while managing to sound like an Ingram original, and Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s “Dallas” gets a bit of the western swing treatment. But his originals are the gems — the moving “She Does Her Best” hints at the narrative crafting balladeer Ingram would become on later recordings.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jack Ingram plays catchy twang pop and country rock without sounding like a ‘70s throwback or an alt-country hopeful. His honky-tonk approximations make Livin’ or Dyin’ sound wonderfully rootsy, and the songs play with a timelessness that you just don’t hear in the albums of most late ‘90s new traditional hat acts. “Nothin’ Wrong With That” opens playfully using simple chords and a sing-along melody as Ingram’s textured voice muses on a bumpkin-themed romance. Things get a little more rockabilly on “Big Time” — a bouncy ditty that boasts some impressive lap steel licks by Tommy Hannum. Ingram also takes on some tasteful covers: Guy Clark’s “Rita Ballou” retains Texan tones while managing to sound like an Ingram original, and Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s “Dallas” gets a bit of the western swing treatment. But his originals are the gems — the moving “She Does Her Best” hints at the narrative crafting balladeer Ingram would become on later recordings.

TITLE TIME
2:32
2:47
2:48
2:14
3:27
2:43
4:03
3:21
3:10
3:13
2:42
3:45
3:15
3:35

About Jack Ingram

Texas-based modern-day honky tonker Jack Ingram first carved out a niche for himself in the bars and roadhouses between Dallas and Houston. By the mid-'90s, after extensive touring with his Beat Up Ford Band, he had released two well-received independent albums and had opened for artists like Merle Haggard and Mark Chesnutt. The end of 1996 brought about a deal with Warner, which reissued his first two indie albums, and in 1997 issued his major-label debut, Livin' or Dyin'. Moving to Sony's Lucky Dog label in 1999, Ingram released his fifth roots rock album, Hey You. Three years later, he hooked up with Lee Ann Womack's producer, Frank Liddell, for Electric. Young Man, a compilation of recordings of many of his earliest songs, and Live at Gruene Hall: Happy Happy both arrived in 2004. Live Wherever You Are, a live recording featuring two studio singles, was released in 2006 and was his first for Big Machine Records, a label operated by record executive Scott Borchetta and fellow country crooner Toby Keith. A second release from Big Machine, This Is It, followed in 2007. Big Dreams & High Hopes appeared in 2009. The album produced two modest hits -- "That's a Man," which preceded the album's release, and "Barefoot and Crazy," which went to ten on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart -- but the record stalled at 21 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Ingram left Big Machine in 2011 and spent the following five years slowly working on the material that became Midnight Motel, the album he released on Rounder in 2016. After its August release, it debuted at 24 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    Houston, TX
  • BORN
    1970

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