Jack Ingram Returns to Roots: “It’s Always Going to Rain”

Jack Ingram It's Always Going to Rain Jack Ingram is releasing his first album since 2009’s Big Dreams and High Hop. On the new album, Midnight Motel, Ingram reasserts his position as an outstanding roots singer-songwriter. Midnight Motel covers a range of topics, including real-life farmers in “It’s Always Going to Rain.”

Ingram recently explained to Billboard how his album hiatus came about. After some popular country music chart success in the early 2000’s with songs like “Wherever You Are” and “Love You,” Ingram felt a need to go in a different direction than the record company wanted him to go. Thus, some listeners may find that Ingram’s new album is more like some of his early albums.

Ingram’s Early Work and Returning to Roots

I had been a fan of Ingram’s early work before he started appearing on mainstream radio. While I was happy for his success and enjoyed songs like “Love You,” he had been recording and performing for more than a decade before the Academy of Country Music awarded him the “Best New Male Artist” award in 2008.

I prefer Ingram’s work that predated his mainstream discovery, slicker sound, and that “new artist” award. If you only know him from his work in more recent years, you should listen to his earlier albums like Livin’ Or Dyin’ (1997) and Hey You (1999). So, I am excited to hear that he is going his own direction on the new album.

Ingram explained that one reason for the recent break from recording was to allow him to “be whoever the f— I wanna be. I can make music my way and be the best me possible. I can tell you who I am, and you can decide whether you like me or not.”

The album sounds great, so hopefully both old and new fans will give it a listen. As Ingram has explained, in working on the new album, he wanted to focus on writing songs that he wanted to sing and that he would play for his heroes like Guy Clark and Johnny Cash. And he succeeded in creating one of the best albums of his career and one he should be proud of.

“It’s Always Going to Rain”

Ingram drew inspiration from real-life working people on one song on the new album, “It’s Always Going to Rain.” As Ingram explains in the video below, the title for the song came from an elderly woman interviewed in Texas Monthly.

The woman explained about the cycles of droughts faced by Texas farmers. Her line about believing it is always going to rain gave Ingram the inspiration for the song, and he worked with singer-songwriter Lori McKenna to finish the track.

Check out this 2014 performance of “It’s Always Going to Rain.”

Regarding the woman who uttered the expression that inspired Ingram to write the song, she appears to be Sandy Whittley.  She grew up in San Angelo and is the executive secretary of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association.

Although Ingram remembers Whittley being 94 years old, she actually was 74 years old at the time of the interview. Her quote in Texas Monthly that inspired the song came from her discussion of the droughts: “It was so disheartening because we needed it so bad, and everybody kept saying, ‘It’s gonna rain. It always rains. One of these days it’s gonna rain.’ Well, after seven years you’re still telling yourself the same old fable: ‘God won’t let you just die of thirst. I know he won’t.'”

Midnight Motel hits stores and the Internet on August 26, 2016. Currently, you may listen to the whole album over at The Boot.

What is your favorite Jack Ingram song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Tribute to Guy Clark CD is “Stuff That Works”
  • 10 Reasons Hope Floats is a Guilty Pleasure
  • 3 Movies That Make Us Mad
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Dee Snider’s Acoustic “We’re Not Gonna Take It” For a Good Cause

    Dee Snider Acoustic

    In a moving video, Dee Snider sings “We’re Not Gonna Take It” accompanied only by piano for Criss Angel’s HELP (Heal Every Life Possible) charity.  In the video, Snider belts out the rebellious song from his Twisted Sister days intercut with scenes of cancer patients.

    The magician Criss Angel directed the video featuring Snider dressed in white in the desert outside Las Vegas showing he still has a great voice.  Check out the new version of the Twisted Sister classic song that was first released in 1984.

    Criss Angel’s HELP organization also plans a star-studded fundraiser. See HELP’s website for more information.

    Snider also has been working on an upcoming album, We Are the Ones, which he describes as an album that breaks from his past. He explains the album as “part Foo Fighters, part Imagine Dragons, part Thirty Seconds to Mars.” We Are The Ones hits stores and the Internet on October 28, 2016.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

    Frank Black & Marty Brown: “Dirty Old Town”

    Dirty Old Town On Frank Black’s 2006 Nashville album Fast Man Raider Man, a hidden gem features singer-songwriter Marty Brown joining Black on Ewan MacColl‘s classic “Dirty Old Town.” The duet combines two singers known for different types of music.  But the rock sound of the former front man of the Pixies blends well with the Kentucky twang of Marty Brown on the English song.

    MacColl originally wrote “Dirty Old Town” for a 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys. Yet, the song about Salford, Greater Manchester, England, has become something of a standard in its own right. In addition to MacColl’s own recording, the song has been covered by such folks as the Dubliners, the Pogues, Rod Stewart, and Townes Van Zandt.

    The gritty recording of “Dirty Old Town” by Frank Black and Marty Brown makes me wish they had done more work together.  Brown contributed in other ways to Black’s album Fast Man Raider Man, where Brown also played bass and provided backing vocals. They could have named their band “Black & Brown.”

    Frank Black, who also plays under the name Black Francis and with the group Frank Black and the Catholics, continues to make music. Marty Brown, who made a comeback on America’s Got Talent, recently recorded Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” and performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

    Ewan MacColl, the folk singer and songwriter behind “Dirty Old Town,” wrote a number of songs including “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face.” He passed away in October 1989.  But the song about his dirty old home town lives on.

    What is your favorite version of “Dirty Old Town”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Ewan MacColl: “My Old Man”
  • Marty Brown Profiled on Episode of “Kentucky Life”
  • Marty Brown Releases “Make You Feel My Love”
  • Marty Brown: “King of Music Row”
  • Marty Brown’s Video for “Gonna Make It Fly”
  • How Marty Brown Wrote “Whatever Makes You Smile”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Max Yasgur, the Farmer Behind Woodstock

    Woodstock Farmer

    One of the important people of the rock era, Max Yasgur, was born to Jewish immigrants from Russia on December 15 in 1919. Yasgur’s place in rock history came nearly five decades later. He was the owner of the dairy farm that hosted the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which was held between August 15 and August 18, 1969.

    After other towns in upstate New York rejected the idea of hosting the festival, Yasgur leased a field in Bethel, New York to the concert organizers. The 49-year-old farmer was paid for the lease. But he also proved his generosity.

    When Yasgur saw that such a large number of kids showed up for the concert, he worked to make sure there was enough free water. Also, he told his own kids to give away all of his milk and dairy products to feed the concert-goers.

    At one point during the concert, Yasgur addressed the crowd. He began by saying “I am a farmer.” Then, he explained he did not know how to address a crowd of young people. But as you may see in the video below, he did.

    Many of Yasgur’s neighbors were angry at him for allowing his land to be used for the concert. Some of them sued him. And his own land suffered damage from the concert.

    In 1971, Yasgur sold his land and moved to Florida. A year and a half later on February 9, 1973, he died due to a heart condition. But as Brian Doyle recently wrote in “The Sudden City” in the April 2016 issue of The Sun magazine, “Max had a great heart.” Doyle uses Yasgur’s acts of generosity to remind us in today’s cynical world that there are people everywhere doing good things to help others.

    Yasgur’s kindness reminds us to be nice to others. On top of that, he also helped set the table for a concert that emerged as a symbol of people coming together in peace and love.

    There was great music. But as Doyle writes, “perhaps the deeper story, the better story, the more substantive story, is how a sudden city of young Americans arose briefly on a hillside for one summer weekend, and no one got beaten up, and hundreds of people . . . handed out water and sandwiches and blankets.”

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Richie Havens Foresaw Cell Phones On the Woodstock Stage
  • Star-Spangled Banner: Francis Scott Key & Marvin Gaye
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    John Prine Releasing New Album, “For Better, For Worse”

    John Prine Album John Prine is releasing a new album of duets called For Better, For Worse (2016).  On the upcoming album, Prine covers a number of country classics with some help from female singers like Iris DeMent, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Kathy Mattea, Kacey Musgraves, Fiona Prine, Amanda Shires, Morgane Stapleton, Susan Tedeschi, Holly Williams, and Lee Ann Womack.

    The Album

    For Better, For Worse is a follow-up of sorts to Prine’s 1999 album of similar duets, In Spite of Ourselves.   Jim Rooney helped produce the 1999 CD, and he is on board again for the new album.

    Prine explained to NPR that he was “kinda tricked” into recording his first full-length CD in five years.  His wife and his son-manager suggested he record a handful of songs to fill the last side of a vinyl version of In Spite of Ourselves.  Once he got started, they encouraged him to round out a new album.

    Although we long for a new album of original material from Prine, this one sounds pretty good so far. He chooses some great songs originally performed by artists like Hank Williams, George Jones, Ernest Tubb, and Buck Owens.

    “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out”

    On the new album, Iris DeMent joins Prine on “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out,” which you may hear below.

    Johnny Tillotson and Teddy Wilburn wrote “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out.” The song was originally recorded by Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb in 1969. Check out their version below.

    For Better, Or Worse hits the Internet on September 30, 2016.

    What is your favorite John Prine album? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Sweet Victory . . . and Sweet Forgiveness
  • Alt-Country Tribute to Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”
  • Best Gospel Songs by Pop Singers 4: Morning, Flying & Mystery
  • Know the Song But Not the Songwriter: Tony Macaulay
  • Song of the Day: Lee Ann Womack “Chances Are”
  • The First Song Loretta Lynn Ever Wrote
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)