Big Dreams & High Hopes

Big Dreams & High Hopes

by Jack IngramJack Ingram


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Jack Ingram became an "overnight success" in 2005 with his number one charting country single "Wherever You Are," after toiling for a decade in Nashville's fields. Interestingly, he scored that hit with well-heeled indie Big Machine. In 2008 he was named Male Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Awards. That's compelling, especially in light of the way Big Dreams & High Hopes sounds. For a long time, Ingram was a poet, albeit one that Nashville bigwigs didn't want to hear from. He writes about the tough spot he felt himself in on this set's final track, "In the Corner." He castigates himself, the label that let him go, and friends and fans who tried to pigeonhole him as an "ARTIST." No more. Now, it's true that these songs -- at least the half or so he wrote on this set -- don't much resemble that angry young man who's had a poet's touch and a steely critical eye. They do, however, reflect the sound of a songwriter who knows what it takes to be successful. No more, no less. Big Dreams & High Hopes is the sound of contemporary country music and all of its tropes: the big '70s rock production, the sheen, the compressed guitars and over-amped drums, the perfectly punched vocals, the hooky pop choruses and sound effects that feel like they come from the disco era without the rhythm tracks. That doesn't make it a bad record. Fans of contemporary country music showed their delight from the jump: the massive response that greeted summertime anthem "Barefoot and Crazy," the album's first single, is evidence enough. As for the rest, Ingram wrote or co-wrote the album's best songs. There's the beautiful ballad "Seeing Stars," a duet with Patty Griffin; "Not Giving Up on Me," a midtempo power ballad about wreckage and redemption; and "Barbie Doll" (co-written with Todd Snider), a solid swaggering street rocker that features Dierks Bentley and Little Big Town. The title track is written in Ingram's older style (despite the presence of Nash Vegas production) -- it's got the elegant simplicity, the simple tune, and the keen insight that brought most of his original fans to his door. And then there's "In the Corner." Big Dreams & High Hopes is the sound of capitulation to Nashville's almighty success mandate. It's the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy at work. Ingram is a distinctive vocalist and -- when he wants to be -- just as singular a songwriter, but it seems he's content to follow in the footsteps of that other great pop country songwriter and guitar picker, Keith Urban. There's nothing wrong with that. Contemporary country fans will eat this up, fill concert halls, and blast it at parties and out of their cars and trucks. Ingram has said in an interview that, though he loves music, "To me it's a job, I go to work and come home like any job." That's what Big Dreams & High Hopes sounds like, too: the work of a fine craftsman who gets all the details right, without a flaw. That said, Ingram's latest doesn't fit the definition of a work by an artist, because this set isn't original in any way. It seems that he can not only live with this compromise, but he freely chose it, and celebrates it here. Good for him.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/25/2009
Label: Big Machine Records
UPC: 0843930002016
catalogNumber: 300
Rank: 104557

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jack Ingram   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar
Steve Brewster   Percussion,Drums
Todd Cooper   Background Vocals
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Larry Franklin   Fiddle
Patty Griffin   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Byron House   Bass
Jay Joyce   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Craig Krampf   Percussion
Doug Lancio   Acoustic Guitar,Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Doug Kahan   Bass
Russell Terrell   Background Vocals
Michael Rojas   Organ,Keyboards
Matthew Ryan   Bass
Troy Lancaster   Electric Guitar
Lee Hendricks   Bass
Georgia Middleman   Background Vocals
Ian Fitchuk   Keyboards
Dierks Bentley   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Adam Shoenfeld   Electric Guitar
Eric Borash   Electric Guitar
Jedd Hughes   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Steven Sheehan   Acoustic Guitar
Shawn Ficter   Drums
Dan Dubmore   Steel Guitar
Mike Johnson   Steel Guitar
Chris Tompkins   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Radney Foster   Composer,Producer
Gary Burr   Composer
Todd Snider   Composer
Darrell Brown   Composer
Jack Ingram   Composer,Producer
Jay Joyce   Producer,Engineer
Doug Lancio   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Joe Martino   Engineer
Chris Rowe   Engineer
Mark Sanders   Composer
Trent Summar   Composer
Rhett Akins   Composer
Tom Hambridge   Composer
Tom Shapiro   Composer
Jeffrey Steele   Composer
Kevin Szymanski   Engineer
Jim Collins   Composer
A.J. Derrick   Engineer
Jay Knowles   Composer
Steven Dale Jones   Composer
Jason Hall   Engineer
Scott Kidd   Engineer
Adam Odor   Engineer
Ron Roark   Graphic Design
Jason Kyle   Engineer
Todd Cassetty   Enhanced CD Design
Scott Borchetta   Executive Producer
Ed Hill   Composer
Justin Tocket   Engineer
Whitney Sutton   Copy Coordination
Brian Lazzaro   Video Director
Jeremy Stover   Producer
Stephen Shepherd   Video Director
Ben Hayslip   Composer
Dallas Davidson   Composer
Tony Martin   Composer
Allison Jones   Copy Coordination
Chris Tompkins   Composer

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