Texas singer-songwriter Jack Ingram is back with Midnight Motel, his first album of new material in seven years. Cut from the same cloth as ‘sake of the song’ writers such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Jerry Jeff Walker (a major influence), Ingram jumps back in the game with an eleven track collection – recorded live in the studio (which gives it a raw feel) – that is textured and as real as the scuffs on his boots.
Although his growth as a songwriter and singer is evident on the Jon Randall produced Midnight Motel, Ingram remains tethered to his past. The eleven songs will fit nicely alongside much of the material on the honky tonk mainstay’s previous studio albums. The slow-burning “It’s Always Gonna Rain,” a get on your knees in the dark days number, and the sparse “Blaine’s Ferris Wheel,” an ode to a wild-eyed club owner, will quickly become fan favourites.
As adept at spinning tales of hard times as he is emotionally charged tracks that stir even the most calloused heart, Ingram is firing on all cylinders on Midnight Motel. A song like “Old Motel” (offered here in full band and acoustic versions) could only be written by an artist who has spent the better part of his life living out of a suitcase. The curse-laden “I’m Drinking Through It” has Ingram dealing with an angry women as only a troubadour can.
Midnight Motel was recorded independently, giving Ingram 100% creative control. The disc, released through roots label Rounder Records, finds the Lone Star treasure sounding as confident as he ever has on record. Whether he’s waxing wise on “Nothing To Fix,” or slapping the funny-bone with Will Kimbrough’s “Champion Of The World,” Ingram seems comfortable in his artistic skin.
Ingram has put in a lot of miles, stayed in and played in a lot of dives; his voice is weathered from countless late night gigs, but his spirt is strong. Midnight Motel is a true singer-songwriter record, an authentically hewn piece of Americana.