released Sept 28th, 2010
from the album - As Long As I'm With You
Contrary to what some might assume, Ingram Hill is not of the name of a solo artist but rather, a band; no one in Ingram Hill is actually named Ingram Hill (just like there was never a musician named Lynyrd Skynyrd or Jethro Tull — at least not in either of those well-known '70s bands). Like Cracker, Train, and Tonic, Ingram Hill has an earthy, unpretentious approach that is relevant to both alternative pop/rock and roots rock. The Memphis-based foursome aren't an exact replica of classic rockers from the '60s and '70s — their work is, by '90s and early-2000s standards, more modern — but they do have a certain down-home rootsiness that has gone over well in Southern rock circles. That isn't to say that their sound is stereotypically southern in the way that Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Black Oak Arkansas were stereotypically southern back in the '70s; Ingram Hill doesn't get into hell-raisin' good ol' boy stereotypes, and their lyrics tend to be reflective, introspective, and thoughtful. Ingram Hill brings a long list of influences to their work — a list that ranges from Tonic, Cracker, Blues Traveler, and the Gin Blossoms to the Black Crowes (a frequent comparison), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Rolling Stones, and John Cougar Mellencamp.
Ingram Hill was formed during the summer of 2000, when Justin Moore (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Phil Bogard (lead guitar) joined forces with two other musicians they knew from the University of Memphis, Shea Sowell (bass, background vocals) and Matt Chambless (drums). Before Ingram Hill, Moore and Bogard had played together in a Memphis band called the Bamboozlers (who were together from 1997-2000 and put out a CD titled Shopping for Stuart). In 2001 and 2002, Ingram Hill toured the Deep South extensively, and developed a small but enthusiastic regional following in that part of the United States. Their first release came in 2002, when they put out their debut EP, Until Now, on their own label, Traveler Records. Five of the disc's eight tracks were produced by Tonic singer Emerson Hart, and Until Now sold around 10,000 copies. Then, in 2003, the Memphis residents released their first full-length album, June's Picture Show, on Traveler; the CD was produced by Rick Beato, who had worked with Billionaire, the Tender Idols, Flickerstick, and singer/songwriter Michelle Malone, among others. June's Picture Show had only been out a few weeks when Ingram Hill signed with Hollywood Records, which re-released the album in February 2004. Cold in California followed from Hollywood in 2007. The album reflected a shakeup in personnel, with Sowell leaving; he was replaced by Zach Kirk in 2008. After releasing the Unplugged EP that year, Ingram Hill left their major label association. In 2010, the band signed with Rock Ridge Music for their next album Look Your Best. Although Chambless appeared on the disc, he had departed by the time it was released on September 28, 2010, and the group was reduced to a trio consisting of Moore, Bogard, and Kirk.
Having lost career momentum and their major-label berth after the disappointing 2007 album Cold in California, Ingram Hill re-enlist producer Rick Beato (who helmed the breakthrough 2004 CD June's Picture Show) and again take dead aim at the Adult Top 40 chart and their young adult female fan base with their third full-length, Look Your Best. Lead guitarist Phil Bogard comes up with riffs that have just enough rock aggression without being off-puttingly hard, and lead singer Justin Moore's tunes have singable choruses. The lyrics, which Moore sings with aching sincerity, stick close to surface emotions, as he muses about the ups and downs of romance while living a life on the road and, at least a couple of times, seems to be complaining about the difficulties of dealing with the music business. But even when his job is getting him down, Moore knows it will be all right "As Long as I'm with You." It's this sort of straightforward emotional statement that must make the band's female fans swoon, but that's nothing in comparison with the power ballad "Hey Girl," an ode to feminine self-esteem, in which Moore assures plain Janes everywhere that it's them he's attracted to, not the hotties standing next to them who are trying to catch his eye. The song is designed to have audience members raising their cell phones in the air and waving them back and forth in solidarity. Pandering? Yes. But probably also irresistible. This is a guy who can even make a backstage encounter sound romantic in "Miss Kennedy." There are, thus, several songs on Look Your Best that are capable of leading Ingram Hill back onto their upward career path with luck, hard work, and some promotion. (The group has eased out drummer Matt Chambless who, even though he plays on every track here, is not pictured on the cover and is credited only as a sideman. Ironically, that makes him the only member of the group, however erstwhile, to actually have his name in the credits. The remaining members seem to want to be known as Phil, Zach [Kirk, the bassist], and Justin, as they are in the acknowledgments, the better to seem even more fan friendly.)
1 Broken Lover Ingram Hill 3:04
2 Lady Grey Ingram Hill 4:15
3 As Long as I'm with You Ingram Hill 3:47
4 Hey Girl Harris, Ingram Hill 3:56
5 Burn Out Your Flame Ingram Hill 3:21
6 Come Around Ingram Hill 3:56
7 Miss Kennedy Ingram Hill 3:58
8 The Hardest Part Chambless, Ingram Hill 3:39
9 Ready for the Sun Ingram Hill 4:13
10 Wish You'd Stay Ingram Hill 3:26