Jack IngramJack Ingram's rebirth as a singer-songwriter -- he won the 2008 ACM award for Top New Vocalist and scored his first No. 1 single with the 2005 hit 'Wherever You Are' -- came from closely following the storytelling paths of his favorite artists including Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Just as Willie and Kris always reached out to fans through their songs as well as their live shows, Jack's current Acoustic Motel tour gives audiences an even more in-depth perspective on the man who's been making music professionally for almost 15 years.

"I just remember being enveloped by the music that was around me," Jack tells The Boot of his childhood. "It made time stand still. I knew it would be something I was chasing for a long time as a fan and when I learned to play guitar a little bit I could make the same thing happen with the right songs."

The Texas-born artist says the key to writing a song is trying to capture a moment. "An idea of a song comes from the blink of an eye. Writing a song for me is trying to freeze time in the split second and capture that full thought. It's tough to do when this world is moving so fast."

At Jack's Alexandria, Va. concert this week, the audience soaked up his stories of spending years on the road in seedy motels and enduring the vandalism of his van, which netted thieves 367 of his favorite CDs. Sipping beer as he stood on a stage adorned with an upholstered easy chair, table, wide-shaded table lamp, and metal floor lamp, Jack also shared tales of his friends, his family and, of course, his music.

"When I was 20, I thought I'd change the world," Jack said shaking his head. "Then when I turned 30 I thought 'You better get going, dude.'"

At that point, Jack played 'Fool,' continually stressing the lyric, 'Fool, you're fooling yourself.'

At a meet-and-greet with fans, many of them reminisced with the performer about seeing him as the opening act for Toby Keith, Martina McBride and others.

Dressed in a black t-shirt, jeans and black cowboy boots, he happily signed autographs, posed for pictures and commented on the high-profile acts who got their start opening for him: "When someone opens for me, it's a good luck charm. For them!"

That's seemingly changed, as evidenced in part by Jack's nomination for the 2010 ACM Awardfor Vocal Event of the year, 'Seeing Stars,' his duet with Patty Griffin.

"She's one of my favorite talents in the world," says the singer, adding himself to a list of other high-profile artists -- including John Prine and Emmylou Harris -- who count themselves among Patty's fans. "She influences country music more than anyone even knows."

The almost-to-capacity crowd hung on Jack's words, listening somberly at certain moments and applauding wildly at others. At one point, a set of fans at 'Table 214' sent a beer up to Jack's table on the stage.

"I'm having a really good time here tonight. Are you having a good time? " he smiled and asked as the crowd cheered. "This type of show is so self-indulgent, I have to check in to make sure you're having a good time too."

Jack Ingram's Acoustic Motel tour continues this weekend with shows in Foxboro, Mass. (March 26) and Philadelphia, Pa. (March 28).

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