Jack Ingram

Hey You

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    8
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Bouncing back from his first, abortive major-label experience with the shuttered Rising Tide imprint, Jack Ingram lands on another custom label, Sony's Lucky Dog, for his fifth album overall, Hey You. And he just keeps doing what he does, which is producing a lightened version of the kind of Texas singer/songwriter honky tonk music typical of Joe Ely and Steve Earle. Ingram's primary subject is the difficulty of communication between lovers, a topic he pursues in songs like "Talk About," "How Many Days," and "Work This Out." But his better songs are more specific, and often seem to derive from their opening lines. "Biloxi," in which a son criticizes his father for abandoning the family, begins, "Where in hell did you go, " while "Mustang Burn," in which the singer addresses a man whose automobile he may or may not have torched, starts with, "I don't give a damn that your car's on fire." They tell stories that grab you right away, and they're good enough that you wish Ingram's songs were all that good and wonder why they're not.

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