When you've been touring for years working under the assumption that you're a pop/rock band, it can be sometimes hard to come to the realization that your music may very much be more rooted in your hometown and influences that you grew up with than you remembered and like Josh Kelley and Aaron Lewis before them, this meant coming home to Country Music for Ingram Hill.
While they really haven't changed all that much about their own music (either songwriting or melodically), what comes out of the speakers when listening to the self-titled Ingram Hill, the band's third release for Rock Ridge Entertainment, is an amalgam of countrified singer/songwriter rock and modern country sounds which feels completely organic and just part of the band's evolution. In fact, as one of the band's earliest fans (I bought 2003's Hollywood Records June's Picture Show when they were an up-and-coming band), this is a sound that has been there. "Oh My" fits as well on this record as it would on their last full studio album Look Your Best or June's Picture Show. And, for my money, this is a band that writes some of the tightest, sturdiest songs you're likely to hear and in many ways, "Good Ol' Dixie" showcases this. This is a song that would work really well on mainstream country radio, or at least as a showstarter out on the road, where the band plays to mid-sized rooms all over the USA.
"Mainline Train" showcases the band's roosty vibe while also not succumbing to mainstream pressures of any kind. the slide guitars and chicken picked' telecasters are mixed well with percussion that helps build the song to an interesting breakdown where banjos are audible in the mix. "From Afar" has a feel that recalls some of Will Hoge's similar rootsy Country/Rock and it also feels like something that could work on modern country radio with a percussive melody and observational and conversational lyric. "Brokenhearted In Birmingham" is the albums first single and features a jovial, progressive melody that recalls the band's past hits like "Will I Ever Make It Home" but only with mandolins and acoustic guitars taking more of a focus than electrics and keyboards.
"Those Three Words" is the kind of song that every girl would love their guys to say and that alone makes it a song that would do really well on country radio if given a chance. Ingram Hill has always had some interesting ballads on their records ("Hey Girl" comes to mind) and while "Yellow House" is one here, it's one of the rare uptempo ballads that both recalls the heyday of Roots Rock's 90s peak with minor key pianos feeling like something one might hear on a current Lady Antebellum record.
"Saturday Girl" may be the most sonically ready of any of this record's songs for country radio while "Who Needs A Sunny Day" closes Ingram Hill on a melodic mode with another uptempo ballads which shows off lead vocalist Justin Moore's vocals (yes, that's his real name). Ingram Hill is a strong album complete with hooks and melodies as good as anything produced by mainstream country's big label artists and if Nashville labels aren't going to pick this band up and get them on the country radio dial, the band should do this themselves because this is a record that clearly deserves to be heard by as many people as possible