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Livin' or Dyin'

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iTunes Review

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.


Born: 1970 in Houston, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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Livin' or Dyin', Jack Ingram
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