CD Review of This Is It by Jack Ingram

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This Is It
starstarstarstarno star Label: Big Machine Records
Released: 2007
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“We’re doing the same stuff we always have been,” explains the blue-collared, gritty, and always-determined Texan Jack Ingram, who, at 36, has been struggling along a relatively unknown path of obscurity for better than 10 years. “But what we were doing was so far left of center, and now the format took a sharp turn to the left and headed in my direction. It was just a matter of being patient.” And patient he’s been, having been passed on for years by record executives, radio, and the consuming public. That’s until the new album, This Is It, was unveiled last month and is being gobbled up by Nashville and beyond.

Certainly, it helps that the new studio release is a pseudo-greatest hits package without actually being one. Ingram’s first non-live release in over three years, with full-blown label marketing and distribution, is pumped up with the inclusion of the previous #1 hit “Wherever You Are” and the Top 10 riff-rocker “Love You,” a favorite on CMT for the past year. Add to it his rendition of Hinder's “Lips of an Angel,” which is moving swiftly up the charts itself, and you start to get the idea of what all this momentum is about. Of covering the rock song “Lips of an Angel,” Ingram offered, “A good song is a good song. I’ll let other people choose sides between what genre is what and who should stay inside which box. I think there are two kinds of music: good and bad.”

At times collaborating and often leaving the writing to others altogether, Ingram straps on his guitar and focuses on the performance itself. He’s made what little name he has up until now by touring extensively and playing killer live shows. Spawned from the same underground Texas circuit which has uncorked Chris Whitley, Charlie Robison, and Pat Green, Ingram is finally starting to break on a national level. He’s toured recently with (and very much befriended) Sheryl Crow and Brooks & Dunn, and plans to gig this year with Brad Paisley and others. Crow delivers a beautiful background vocal on the ultra-catchy “Hold On,” while Radney Foster helps pen “Measure of a Man,” the next single.

The album title This Is It feels like an exhaustive plea, a way of saying, “If this don’t work, nothing will!” With all the miles he’s logged and all the dues he’s had to pay, the father of three children under the age of five is due himself. This is his time, and I truly believe that This Is It will stand as his career piece. No doubt it displays the raw talent of a guy who still has plenty of gas left in the tank, but this is the kind of record that will dig itself in as a debut release of sorts. It’s entirely feasible that Ingram’s musical life will begin right here, right now.

~Red Rocker