Taking Texas Music to the Next Level
Houston native Jack Ingram makes a name for himself – and the Texas music genre – in the recording industry
Like a true Texas gentleman, Jack Ingram looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand and says hello. He exudes confidence yet is very humble and genuine. The day Inside Houston talked to him, he was scheduled to rock the house at Garden in the Heights as part of their homegrown series that focuses on Texas musicians.
When Jack Ingram takes the stage, the crowd goes wild for this local favorite. Part of the new music revolution made popular by such stars as Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green, Ingram lets the audience know he appreciates them. “All I can do is keep on putting out my music – what I consider to be quality music. Whether it is or not, it’s not my place to judge.” Judging from the audience’s response, Ingram’s stuff is right on target.
The type of crowd that loyally follows Ingram varies from young college coeds to cowboys and businessmen. Most of all, his music touches them. It transcends age groups and classes. They know the words to every song – they’re dancing, clapping, begging for more. Jack Ingram fans do more than appreciate his work; they revel in it.
So, who does Ingram see when he looks out at the audience? “People who give a s— about music – who want to hear music and want to connect on a level about songs and emotions,” he says.
Although you may not recognize Ingram’s name from mainstream radio, there is a movement to change that, a constant gurgle from the people that gets louder with every new fan. “There is always opposition to change, and this kind of stuff is different from what radio stations are used to seeing on their desks. I look at it as a dam with a bunch of pressure on it. At some point the dam is going to break, and it’s all going to flow through.” His fans eagerly await that moment.
Speaking of the lack of air time that Texas music encounters, Ingram responded earnestly, “All I can do is what I do: make records and go out and tour. I do my best to get my songs on the radio.”
Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Charlie Robison and many others “weren’t making records 10 years ago because there was no place for them to be heard. Well, now there’s a place to be heard, it’s just not necessarily on the radio yet. It’s like a snowball thing we’ll get through. It’s up to all of us to keep the pressure on.” And Texas music has found its nook. It is infiltrating college campuses and local bars; it’s on people’s lips and in their car stereos.
There is a whirlwind circling Texas music these days, and many are struggling to define it. Ingram shed some light on the muddy subject. “I guess you could call it a clash of folk, country and rock. You might call it Americana,” he laughs. “Put those types of music together and throw it back out and see what you can call it. As long as they think it’s good.”
A graduate of McCullough High School in The Woodlands, Ingram says he feels like he has two hometowns. “This is my hometown, but I live in Dallas. We always make certain to stop in Houston. My whole family is here. My nieces and nephews are here. We like to be around our family.” Of course, he loves to play to his Houston fans, but the musician in him concedes, “There’s really no place I dislike playing.”
“I play every show like it’s my last. I can’t really choose who’s going to follow me and try and garner that audience or cater to them. I just do what I do and do it as well as I can.”