Jack Ingram Lets His Guitar Do the Talking
Jack Ingram settles scores with his songwriting. While he’s admittedly no physical fighter, Jack says his guitar can be a powerful weapon.
Consider the song ‘Biloxi,’ which he wrote after his dad repeatedly asked to be featured in a song. As fans know, the song is all about Jack’s then 41-year old dad moving to Biloxi and leaving his family behind in Texas. After that, Jack says his dad didn’t ask to be in any more tunes.
He was, however. When Jack became a father himself, he wrote what he considers “Biloxi II” about his dad. The song’s actual title is ‘That’s a Man‘ and it tells the tale of Jack’s dad and other men who fight in wars, work hard to support their families and stand up for their moral beliefs.
“When you look back there are always things you’d change,” Jack tells The Boot. “As I’ve made records and moved on in career I look back and think, ‘That was my truth at that time.’ That was how I felt at the time and there is no use looking back. I just move onto the next one.”
Yet he’s not so quick to move away from other score-settling songs, such as the amusing ‘Mustang Burn,’ in which he nurses a grudge against his idol Robert Earl Keen. The song revolves around what is reportedly a true story of cars — including one belonging to Robert — burning up in the parking lot of a venue. The reason for the grudge, which Jack explains in concert, is a bit fuzzy but it revolves around Robert making disparaging remarks about Jack’s climb toward success.
“I remember when [the television show] VH1 Storytellers came out,” says Jack. “You don’t have to be a Hall of Fame artist to have those stories. These stories all come from somewhere.”
The toughest part of turning stories into songs is to keep the feeling of the moment fresh. For that, Jack relies on his mobile phone’s memo feature, which has replaced the notepad and pen he used to carry to jot down ideas.
“Writing songs for me is trying to capture a moment and that full thought,” Jack says. “It’s tough to do because this world is moving so fast. You just have to carve out time and sit down with a guitar for a couple hours to follow an idea and chase it down. Lot of times I’ll go halfway through and realize it’s a ghost. Then I have to move on. If I’m really lucky, though, I have a good idea and a couple hours to work on it.”
Jack Ingram is currently on tour and will be in his hometown of Austin, Texas, on July 4. Click here for more tour dates.