Jack Ingram is a bit of an anomaly. He sang the National Anthem at game 6 of the World Series, yet he didn’t even headline the last festival where I saw him. His songs have hit the top 40 on national radio, yet I saw him perform at the Firehouse Saloon here in
only a few months ago. Every time he plays he displays the same energy, same drive to please, and is always looking like he is having the time of his life. It’s almost as if he truly doesn’t care if he is performing in front of 100 or 10,000. And he always closes with his signature statement, “I’m Jack Ingram and I play Country music.” Houston
When I first saw Jack perform it was at a high school dance circa 1994/1995. He had a self-titled album to his credit and the crowd in the palm of his hands. I purchased the album that night and for some stupid reason tucked it away for a couple of years until I finally came across it and gave it a chance. I could kick myself for delaying my introduction to what has become Texas Country.
The album is a straight forward introduction to a man trying to live out his dreams. Eight original cuts with four additional covers of Collin Boyd, Merle Haggard, Robert Earl Keen, and the great Willie Nelson. I guess if you are going to aim high you might as well shoot for the moon by covering some of the biggest names in Country. And he pulls it off with ease with his songs flowing right along with the other masters of their craft. From the love songs of “Me and You”, “Make my Heart Flutter”, and the beautifully haunting “Drive On”, to the down on his luck-just trying to make its of “Beat up Ford”, “Beyond my Means”, and “Mama Tried”, Jack sings with an attitude of having been around the block and knowing just what he’s doing.
The two standout tracks to me are “Sight Unseen” and “Things get Cloudy”, with the former about the search for life and trying to find your niche whenever obstacles get in your way. “Searching for a feeling I call home” is an easy enough line for anyone to relate to. It is always funny to me when you hear an upbeat song and automatically assume that the guy gets the girl at the end of the song, but then he does not. “Things Get Cloudy” is that song where the girl in question is always just beyond your reach, but you know in your heart of hearts she is the right one.
If you are looking to hear any of these songs live I wouldn’t hold my breath, as I believe the only one I remember hearing anytime recently was a remade version of “Make my Heart Flutter”. The album is probably only available on his website or, if you get lucky, at a used music store (they still have those, right?). It is a quick listen as half the songs are under three minutes, and if you already enjoy his music it will be a great addition to the library. I will always treasure it as my introduction to a whole new scene of music, and Jack will always have my thanks for that.