Ingram Hill: Look Your Best

RIYL: Better Than Ezra, Collective Soul, Hootie and the Blowfish

True to form, Memphis rock band Ingram Hill has returned with their third release, Look Your Best.  The group’s debut, June Picture Show, and the follow-up, Cold in California, were released on Hollywood Records in 2004 and 2007, respectively, so this 2010 release (on Rock Ridge Music) is in line with the band’s every-three-years format. And, well, if you’re a fan of Ingram Hill, Look Your Best is pretty much a continuation of their previous work – especially to the debut, since they enlisted Rick Beato to produce once more.  If you’re looking for the next cool thing, you won’t find it here. Instead, Ingram Hill write real songs with real hooks that just have this way of making you feel good – as if you’re in a nostalgia warp of sorts to the bands mentioned above; but also the proximity of the band to Nashville has helped front man Justin Moore and company to continually hone his songwriting craft. 

The key to Ingram Hill, in addition to being a great live band, is the fact that they continue to churn out songs with catchy melodies and huge chorus hooks – ear candy, if you will – and Look Your Best is more of that same formula.  The opener “Broken Lover” is a bit too formulaic, but as you delve deeper into this set, you’ll unearth some gems like the power ballads “Hey Girl,” and “Wish You’d Say,” and the mid-tempo “Come Around.”  Really, any of these could be hits on country radio if things don’t pan out with Ingram Hill.  But sure as it’s hot and sweaty in Memphis, fans of the band aren’t hoping for that anytime soon.  (Rock Ridge 2010)

Ingram Hill MySpace page


Lucero: 1372 Overton Park

RIYL: Ryan Bingham, Bruce Springsteen, Soul Asylum

1372 Overton Park is the sixth album from these Memphis blues rockers, but it marks their major label debut. There’s a rootsy blues rock sound at the core, but with a punk influence and soulful horn arrangements from Memphis session player Jim Spake. The band claims no one genre as their own, preferring to mix and match. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Nichols is the star of the show, delivering gritty vocals blending blues with punk and country vibes throughout the album. You rarely hear a punk influence blended with a horn section though, making for a relatively unique vibe.

The tunes are mostly bluesy rockers, accented with those soulful Memphis horns to create a sound that seems like it would go well with adult beverages. “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” builds slowly with piano and arpeggiated chords, and some tasty lead guitar that could open up nicely live. “What Are You Willing to Lose” shines with an up-tempo rocker where Nichols truly sounds like a man who is indeed ready to lay it all on the line, as he sings in the song. “Sixes and Sevens” is a high-energy party tune about gambling and carousing, with the horns and lead guitar intertwining nicely, while “Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble?” brings things down a notch with a heartfelt romantic plea from Nichols to the girl of his affections to gamble on running with him. Overall, the album hits the mark as an homage to the musical heritage of Memphis. (Universal Republic 2009)

Lucero MySpace page


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