Intimate and Carefully Crafted Stories From The Road and The Heart.
One of the many joys of running this website is discovering artists like Jack Ingram. Even though this is his EIGHTH album in 20 years I’d never even heard his name before; but now he could be one of my favourite songwriter and storytellers of all time.
The title track Old Motel which opens the record, starts with the band ‘counting in’ in the studio; before leading into Ingram’s road weary voice comparing love to a broken neon sign and an empty swimming pool. It’s the type of well written song and story I’ve loved all my life; and throw in a band that are as tight as a drum and I knew I was going to love the rest of the album too.
Oh Lord Almighty; my jaw nearly dropped the first time I heard It’s Always Gonna Rain, a sad and beautiful song in equal measures that compares a breaking relationship with a farmer constantly checking the skies during a drought. The farmer and the lover both know the bad days won’t last forever; even if it feels they will….as ‘The wind starts blowing/it takes away the pain/Rain/It’s always gonna rain’.
Ingram’s way with words shines through on songs like What’s a Boy To Do? And Can’t Get Any Better Than This. Both are bittersweet will tug at even the hardest heartstrings but make you smile at the ironic way he describes situations.
There’s a bit of an oddity here too; with the inclusion of The Story of Blaine; about a promoter in San Angelo. It’s a fabulous story, in the manner of RMHQ Slaid Cleaves about the night he was booked to support Merle Haggard; and leads delightfully into the song Blaine’s Ferris Wheel. The story bodes well for my researching his previous Live Albums; but while funny, wears very thin after the third time you hear it on this album.
I’ve absolutely loved this album and discovering Jack Ingram and two particular songs stand out like sunflowers; although sunflowers on the wane via a similar theme. I’m Drinking Through It and I Feel Like Drinking Tonight are both timeless Country songs that will appeal to and resonate with most people reading this review. Sadly we’ve all ‘been there’ but never been able to express our feeling as eloquently as Jack Ingram does.
The album closes with an acoustic version of the title track Old Motel; and somehow Ingram manages to squeeze out even more pathos from this sad, sad story with this more intimate arrangement.
Released USA August 26th 2016
Released UK October 14th 2016