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.
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