John Inghram – Self-Titled
With a bit of ambitious lead guitar, John Inghram’s (vocal/bass guitar) debut kicks off with some basic but well-cultivated songs like “Palisades.” Good storytelling in a vintage songwriter style. It’s not bad, it’s not really nostalgic, it just has that “sound” that flirts with another age in a friendly way.
The 42-minute CD features scenarios that are mindful of what artists like James Taylor, Loudon Wainwright III, Tom Rush & John Hartford used to sing about. John includes a cover of the late John Hartford’s “Back In The Goodle Days,” & pulls it off genuinely with help from Tim O’Brien (vocals/mandolin).
The 9-cut self-titled LP (Independent) will release on May 13. Produced by John with an invigorating sound, especially on the bright well recorded “Here To Stay,” which has a rural rock groove that’s tight as a nail in a piece of oak. Inghram sings with authoritative intonation & phrasing — often found with singers like Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger & Jim Morrison. But on this tune, John made it electrifying. He could easily front any rock band in existence. Being diverse is equally important.
John falls back into balladry mode on “Underdog.” It exudes a bit of a J.J. Cale-Tony Joe White feel. It has heft through its humid musical notes – that’s part of the charm. The slow plod of not yet the blues, but swampy without the insects. Add the organ (Micah Hulscher) with the lead guitar (Adam Meisterhans) & it lifts the song from the marsh into the sunlight. The addition of Matthew Jackfert’s strings/mellotron adds color.
The man has something to say. His vocals are perfectly suited for these pieces. Other musicians are Bud Carroll (guitar – 5 cuts), Randy Gilkey (keys – 5 cuts), Sam Wiseman (drums), & Justin Francis (percussion/background vocals).
With songs like “Little Mountain Mama,” John slides through the styles of Little Feat, Poco, The Band & the James Gang all with finesse. Yes, there are cliches but they’re the cliches that make a song like this believable. You can’t bake a cake without flour.
“Same Old Game,” effectively moves into Mason Ruffner/Mark Knopfler’s rock style with a stinging lead guitar (Adam) & punctuating organ (Micah). A sizzler that sounds vintage yet it’s refreshing – like the glee at finding a small bottle of cold Coca-Cola with real sugar bottled in 1959 & still unopened.
This music is filled with genuine grit & exemplary passion. From a studio musician, composer & producer who keeps the quality polished without losing the antique charm of its exuberant past. The well-written tale “Mile By Mile” is simply excellent.
This is a set of well-thought-out & executed music. If you like country-tinted music but find most is a pop-country-confection on the radio this has both country & rock authenticity.
Color image by Sam Wiseman. The CD @ https://www.facebook.com/johninghrammusic/