Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Jan. 20, 2006
Live Wherever You Are (Big Machine)
Jack Ingram's debut for Toby Keith's new label is a curious disc. Live Wherever You Are is basically the Live at Gruene Hall set Ingram released on his own in 2004, bracketed by two new studio tracks and a performance recorded for CMT's Outlaws 2005 TV special. From someone who, according to the bio, claims a "commitment to honesty and intelligence in his music," this smells like "product" rather than commitment (from the aptly named "Big Machine," no less), especially since Ingram hasn't released an album of new music since 2002's well-received Electric. Musically, the Gruene Hall portion of the disc is jammed with crowd-pleasers like the anthemic "Work this Out," sentimental "Goodnight Moon," silly sing-along "Barbie Doll," and a muscular take of Waylon Jennings' "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line." The title track, one of the new recordings, is driving jangle reminiscent of Radney Foster, but "Never Knocked Me Down" from the CMT special is Eighties album rock that could have come from Toto. Live at Gruene Hall remains an appealing introduction to Ingram's brand of Texas style country, better not to have messed with it.