In concert: Jack Ingram
By Scott Galupo
The decade-long rise of Jack Ingram may defy a faddish industry that rewards youth and connections to Simon Cowell, but the country singer's solo-acoustic performance at the Birchmere Wednesday proved it still doesn't hurt to have a handsome face, a winning personality and made-to-order messy hair.
Years of touring and recording had found Ingram stuck in the antechamber of Nashville stardom until 2005's hit single "Wherever You Are," which kicked off Wednesday's set - but not before a proud recollection of the song's climb up the charts.
(Holding a grudge against Robert Earl Keen, plus more pictures after the jump.)
Ingram sang like he takes nothing - least of all success - for granted.
More beach bum than bad boy, he doesn't look the part of a typical Music Row outsider. And, at 39, he's more wise than rowdy. He sang poignantly about fatherhood ("Ava Adele") and married love ("More Than That," "One Thing"). Also about beer, trucks, highways and girls who resemble store-bought dolls in both appearance and mental capacity.
Best of all: "Mustang Burn," Ingram's hilariously spiteful rocker about nursing a grudge against his hero Robert Earl Keen. On "Fool" - written, he said, when he turned 30 and found himself in a stock-taking mood - Ingram was full of self-reproach.
At times Ingram, the musician, was aimlessly strummy; he made you miss the dynamism of a band. And the set was a song or three too heavy on reflective ballads as well. The jolt provided by the Southern boogie of "Love You" and "Barefoot and Crazy" felt late in arriving. And yet, after he played literally unplugged and stepped away from the microphone for the lullaby-ish "Goodnight Moon," Ingram had electricity to spare.
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