Jack Ingram Biography
"What I've always loved about country music is that the music tells you that we're having a good time, while the lyrics tell you why we need to have a good time. What I've always loved about rock and roll is the attitude," explains Ingram.
Jack writes and records music that talks about real life and offers moments of insight, comfort and fun outside of everyday existence. His provocative, but truthfully universal, songs are evidence of a deep respect for country music. "(Country music) talks about things that make you think," says Jack. "That's what it's about when I'm listening to music. I write songs to figure out why I feel the way that I do, and why things are going the way they are." Then, with his rock and roll style delivery, Jack performs these songs - both in the studio and on the stage-to their truest, fullest, and most raucous.
On the aptly and evocatively titled Electric, his second album for Sony's Lucky Dog Records, Ingram firmly nails down the final elements of his cutting-edge slacker-country style. True to the title, it's a work of crackling musical intensity and powerful emotions, even in its quieter moments. After recording the disc, Jack combed the song titles and lyrics in search of a name for the album, when the notion of simply calling it Electric came to mind. It immediately encapsulated the spirit of the record. As Jack explains, "When that title came to mind, I thought, 'now that's what this record feels like to me.' The guitars are really prevalent, and it just jumps out at you. It has all the things that spell out electric for me; it's passionate, intense, surprising, powerful - it's electric."
Electric is also something of a song cycle, starting out with the emphatic and committed "Keep On Keepin' On" and ending on the sweet grace note of "Goodnight Moon." In between, Electric explores the complexities of human existence with a plainspoken eloquence. Ingram delves into the struggles and conflict that come with relationships ("What Makes You Say," "Won't Go With Her" and "You Never Leave"), the illusions people maintain ("Fool" and "One Lie Away"), solidarity and camaraderie ("We're All In This Together"), love's grandeur ("One Thing") and faith ("Pete, Jesus and Me"). Within that process, Ingram focuses on the contradictions people find in themselves and their relationships. Like all of the best music, Electric speaks from the heart to the ways in which we think, feel and live our lives.
Ingram is more than capable as an observer of human emotions. While college at Southern Methodist University, Jack taught himself guitar, produced two self-released albums, single-handedly created his career, and earned a degree in psychology. Within the songs he writes as well as those he covers, one discovers Jack's quest to understand the complex nature of human behavior. "On this new album I really focused on what the bulk of my songs are about, which to me is the human condition," he points out. "This record is about figuring out the complexities of our emotions and why we act the way we do. Those thoughts preceded the psychology degree. The reason that I studied psychology is that I am interested in it‹in people and what motivates us all and in what makes us tick. That's why I started writing songs."
By now Ingram's rise to national prominence is almost the stuff of legend. Before his Dallas college days, he grew up in Houston, Texas, and was raised on a musical diet of such Texas legends as Lefty Frizzell, Jerry Jeff Walker and Townes Van Zandt, as well as country giants like Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Equally influenced by and raised on rock luminaries like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, Jack's repertoire was well-rounded from a young age.
While in college at SMU, he picked up the guitar and started teaching himself the songs he loved by heroes like Nelson as well as writing songs of his own. He soon landed a weekly gig at Adair's, a local honky-tonk, where he developed his first Beat Up Ford Band and built an avid following. His growing local popularity became a burgeoning phenomenon as his three self-released albums began selling thousands of copies in the Dallas area and then throughout Texas, eventually racking up sales of about 50,000 CDs on his own label.
"I didn't do it with that goal in mind," recalls Ingram. "I was just thinking that if I could sell these, I could pay for them. It was right when, instead of making demos on cassette, you could make a CD. And then you could put a cover on them with some artwork and sell them for 10 bucks. All of a sudden you've got a record. It just so happened that it struck a chord with people because it was real; it wasn't a demo but a record. So I started going out and selling them. And that led to another and then another. It wasn't like I was trying to make myself look like a real recording artist. I was just making music."
The path Ingram forged during and after college as an independent artist has since been followed by numerous other acts in the Lone Star State. Yet none of them have yet to come close to equaling the quality of his musical accomplishments. That's because by the time Ingram released his first major label album in 1997, Livin' Or Dyin' (Rising Tide), his sights were set on greater goals. The record landed Ingram in the proud Texas lineage of Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle (who produced the album) and Robert Earl Keen as an artist and songwriter of unique vision and lasting impact.
His debut Lucky Dog release, 1999's Hey You, even further impressed listeners with its extension of Ingram's creative leap from his honky-tonk roots to an expansive and eloquent modern country style. The Washington Post called it "rough-house charm that's hard to resist," while BarnesandNoble.com touted him as "a major voice in development." Billboard dubbed him "the ultimate anti-hat act" and the West Columbia, South Carolina Free Times declared Ingram as "the kind of artist that country radio needs." Being what the Dallas Morning News described as "a fearless performer," Jack rarely takes a break, playing some 200 dates a year in a multitude of venues-from rock clubs to country bars to fairs to movies (he appeared in the movies Hope Floats and Abilene).
In all of these venues, he consistently puts on an energetic and exciting show. Jack comments, "For me, the best part about a good live show is emotions that are conveyed in the songs. When people gather together to have a party, of course they're going to have fun, but when people gather together on a much more emotional level, now that is what creates something lasting. I hope my songs are the conduit for that kind of experience."
When he finally allowed himself a break in his touring schedule, Jack began to work on his follow up to Hey You. He booked Ocean Way Recording Studios in Nashville and gathered together a mix of some of the best Nashville and Texas musicians. Electric features guest vocalists like Patty Griffin and Lee Ann Womack, and unites Ingram's roots music grounding with a potent contemporary sound. On "Won't Go With Her," he's backed by Mark Knopfler's road band‹"One of the best bands in the world," Ingram enthuses‹as well as alternative country hero and master songwriter Buddy Miller on harmony vocals and guitarist and producer Jay Joyce on guitar. The set features four songs by Ingram alone, three written with his longtime collaborator Tom Littlefield, and two others Ingram wrote with longtime buddy Bruce Robison and hit songwriter Jim Lauderdale. As well, he taps the work of his friends Scott Miller and Gwil Owen and Will Kimbrough to round out the collection.
Jack chose Frank Liddell to produce Electric, whose production credits include Chris Knight's self-titled 1998 album and Lee Ann Womack's double-platinum album I Hope You Dance. As Jack explains, "I knew Frank because he had worked with some of my favorite songwriters, including, actually, Jim Lauderdale and Bruce Robison. I was confident Frank would make great song choices. I also knew and loved his approach in the studio. Frank is really good at getting great musicians in one room together and letting them do their thing. It is something he does best. It's also a production style that I like very much and don't think is used enough."
As an artist, Ingram ultimately prefers to look to the future rather than rest on the laurels of his numerous accomplishments, and Electric is the album where Ingram's artistic vision truly comes into its own. "To me, making a record and writing songs is all about what's next, figuring out what's going to be even better than what I've done before," he explains. "Watch where I'm going. That's what's important," he insists. Because with every record Ingram makes, he strives to outdo what he's done before and continue to fine-tune the sound that's all his own. "I look at it as that whole thing about being afraid to not make the grade. That's part of being a genuine artist." Or in other words, "Reach for the stars and you land on the roof. Reach for the roof and you're still on the sidewalk." And with Electric, Jack Ingram makes music that lights the sky.
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ok Jack has talent | Reviewer: danny | 3/29/10
But come on women he is a hoti and that's why mostly you all melt at what he does. I mean if i was female I am sure he would be up there for me as well. But his song with Patty Seeing Stars is just like another collaboration Patty does with perfection. See Patty is no slouch in the looks department but she earns her merit through the utmost of great songwriting and putting together in a subtle way of either with her guitar or sometimes piano song sung with lyrics that are as perfect as lyrics can be and then she tops it off with a voice that no is not perfect but sorry it kicks jacks who i am sure knows it to lol. And if you listen to her entire body of music you have to realize who truly shines between the 2 of these gifted performers and yoohoo her initials are P. J. G. lol 4 more days i see her live again woohoo cya
♡ GO JACK! GO JACK! GO JACK! ♡ | Reviewer: ♡ Amber Frankel ♡ | 4/6/07
♡ WOW!!! Jack is so awesome! He is my absolute favorite! I am a 14 year old girl from Pittsburgh, PA and I recently started listening to country music....a LOT of it. I started listening to Jack because a friend of my mothers listens to country and told us to listen to "Love You," my favorite song. After that, I started listening to it all the time. Then I heard "Lips of an Angel" by Jack and so I downloaded it and listened to that a lot, also. Since I loved those songs, I was curious and I wanted to see if he has anymore good songs, I downloaded many of his songs, and I listen to them all every single day, some of them 4, 5, or 6 times a day. I think Jack is the best singer and songwriter because his songs are great and have a lot of meaning, but are fun at the same time. Now, I listen to all of the songs from "This Is It," "Live Wherever You Are," "Electric," "Hey You," and more. This guy is just awesome, my very favorite. If you don't listen to a lot of Jack's songs, I think you should because they are just great. I listen to them every single day, lately I have been listening to the newer songs from "This Is It," and I also put the lyrics for most of them on this web site. Ok, enough about me. (Sorry, I just got a little carried away there, talking about Jack and how I love his music!) Well, anyway, Jack has songs for any occasion. You can get up and dance to "Happy Happy (Country Country)" or lay there and fall asleep to "Goodnight Moon." Or when your in that 'I'm gonna kill the next person to get in my way' kinda mood, listen to "Mustang Burn" or maybe even "Love You." Well, that's what I like to do. There is a lot more good songs of Jack's...I would know because at the moment I listen to 47 of his songs, and I'm lookin for some more to download. YES I HAVE AN OBSESSION! But how can't I when Jack sings what he sings? Ok, I guess I took up enough time out of your life so I will go away. But thanks for reading, I hope you do what I did and be curious and listen to Jack or other good country music. THANKS!! GO JACK!!!! ♡
If you don’t know Jack I’ve only got two words for you - KNOW JACK! | Reviewer: Anni Lichty | 8/24/06
Where: Keyster’s - Urbandale, Iowa
Who: Jack Ingram and the Beat Up Ford Band
WOW! What a rush! These Texans know how to put on a show. Their current release “Wherever You Are” was already one of my favorites and that’s obviously a view shared by many Country Music fans in view of the way they are moving up the charts with that one – but I never expected to be so completely and genuinely entertained. Each and every member of the band is as intriguing as the sound that they produce. They promised to tear the roof off of the place and believe me there wasn’t a shingle in tact by the time they finished their show…or did Keyster’s have a tin roof? Oh well, you get the picture.
Jack Ingram commands your attention! But in all honesty why would you ever want to look away. I mean let’s face it – that guy is easy on the eyes – and he's just as easy on the ears! The Jack Ingram experience is something you will have to see and hear firsthand to believe. But don’t go into it thinking you’ll be able to sit back and relax and enjoy the show. These guys want you to be a part of the show – they want you on your feet – as close to the stage as you can get – and in full participation. They want to be “Wherever You Are” and believe me that’s exactly where you want them to be - and if their catchy little tune “Happy Happy Country Country” doesn’t put a smile on your face and get your foot tapping then you should seriously consider seeking medical attention because something is terribly wrong with you.
Let’s talk about southern hospitality. They were totally accessible after the show – posing for photos - visiting with the fans – signing autographs – and just hanging around for as long as it took. These guys know that it takes more than just talent – they know they need fans who are all too willing to show their support by spending their hard-earned bucks on tickets, CDs & T-Shirts. And from the viewpoint of a fan – it’s a lot easier to turn loose of some of those bucks when the performer knows, acknowledges and appreciates you for being part of the reason that they are enjoying success.
Yes, I know I am repeating myself, but...
If you don’t know Jack I’ve only got two words for you - KNOW JACK!
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