REVIEW: Jack Ingram’s “Ridin’ High … again” is Big Wide Open Style


Jack Ingram’s Ridin’ High … again has a a big, wide-open style — think Springsteen or Mellencamp.  Ridin’ High… Again, featuring Charlie Sexton on guitar, was produced by Jon Randall and recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin. Listening to it, it has that real solid Grammy feel all the way through. With its nod to Jerry Jeff Walker’s acclaimed Ridin’ High, this album should be a top contender in many year end lists.

“Fall in,” Jack Ingram says, and the instruments obey, rallying around him in a loping groove. “Here’s a story about a failed trip to the post office,” vocally launches “Staying Outta Jail” with slide B- bender winding stories about the people who’ve pared things down to the fundamentals: “keep riding high, eatin’ good, and staying outta jail.”

“Here’s to Willie, here’s to Waylon” Igram whispers in a sustained hush and there’s plenty of space before the song, “Where there’s a Willie,” takes off. It displays a classic country drum style over piano: “where there’s a Willie, there’s Waylon.”

The rich music on Ingram’s interpretation of Willie Nelson’s “Gotta Get Drunk” is top candidate for the highlight of the album, with its piano, fiddle, and serious electric guitar trading off in turns.

Doug Belote’s drums echo out into stillness on the plaintive “Mr Tin Man,” co-written with Miranda Lambert, and this song might be the companion centerpiece of the album — it’s hard to choose a favorite — with its rolling tension buildup.

Ingram’s cover of Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting For a Train” is a stunning tribute to Clark. And Ingram’s cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Jesus Was a Capricorn” is a southern rock groove, closely akin to his hard-driving version of Hayes Carll’s “Down the Road Tonight.”

If you’ve missed this one this year, get ahold of it pronto.

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