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Jack Ingram

Hey You – 1999 (Lucky Dog)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Jack Ingram

Jack Ingram has turned in a superbly muscled, yet finely-nuanced fifth album. Producer Richard Bennett deftly mixes Ingram's Texas honky-tonk grit with finer touches, achieving a balance not unlike that found in his productions for Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart.

Ingram's new songs - he wrote or co-wrote all 12 - include several gems. "Biloxi" tells an anguished son's tale of a runaway father, while "Inna From Mexico" recounts a more sympathetic, but no less painful, family separation. The title track borrows a wonderful Buddy Holly chime, and "Juanita" opens with the stinging lyric, "I know you'll see her before I do/'Cause she told me I never would again."

Ingram and his co-writers (including Bruce Robison and Jim Lauderdale) explore relationships on the edge, from those about to bud ("Feel Like I'm Falling in Love") to those on the mend ("Work This Out") and those failing to click, falling apart or just wallowing in bitterness ("Barbie Doll," "I Would," "Talk About").

The Beat Up Ford band displays the chops and coherency born of endless nights on the road, creating a powerful setting for Ingram and his songs. It all adds up to yet another terrific LP - something Ingram must be getting used to at this point.