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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ingram Hill coming to Chicago next month with new record in tow




By ERIC SCHELKOPF

While their second record with Hollywood Records didn't gain much attention, Memphis-based rock trio Ingram Hill has never stopped working.

Cutting ties with Hollywood Records, Ingram Hill now has a new label - Rock Ridge Music, along with a new album, "Look Your Best," which was released in September.

Ingram Hill will open for label mates Sister Hazel Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Ave., Chicago.

Tickets are $26 for each night, or $48 for a two-day pass, available at www.livenation.com.

I had the chance to talk to lead singer/guitarist Justin Moore about the band's latest activities.


Q - The group reunited with producer Rick Beato for your new album, "Look Your Best." He worked with you guys on your first album. Was the timing just right to work with him again?

I think so. We worked with him so much on our first record, and did some B-sides with him and movie soundtrack stuff with him. We got to the point where we figured out that stylistically, we work really well together.

We really trust his opinion. We mesh so well together with Rick that it seemed the right thing to do.

Q - So you guys read each other well?

Yeah, pretty much so. I know what he is going to say to me before he even says it. For somebody that we don't see that often - he lives in Atlanta and we live in Memphis - it's amazing how well he knows us and our music and how well we know him and his style.

Q - As I understand it, a lot of these songs were road tested.

A few were, yeah. We tried to set a deadline for ourselves to try to write 20 songs in a month.

And we had some older songs that we were putting in the pile of songs for the record. And some of those songs we had been playing live. A song called "Hey Girl" we had been playing live for a year and a half, maybe longer.

We got a really good reaction from fans every time we played it, so it was a no-brainer that it was going on the record.

Other songs are brand new and we had never played them live. They are getting their first live performances now, after the record is out.

Q - Why did the band decide to part ways with Hollywood Records?

I think it was the fact that they couldn't stand our second record, and then they had the Jonas Brothers.

Q - So they didn't promote the second record enough?

No, not at all. They were not fans of it. At that point, they had their hands full with the Jonas Brothers. Our record almost got put on the shelf. We were lucky to get the record out.

Q - How did you make the decision to go with Rock Ridge Music?

A lot of our friends are with Rock Ridge. Ken from Sister Hazel mentioned to us on several occasions about Rock Ridge, long before we even signed with them.

We talked with Rock Ridge, and realized that we were a good fit for each other.

Q - It seems like your sound fits in with the label.

I think they know how to present us to the market, what to do with us and how to sell our records.

Q - I'm sure over the years you've heard the band described in different ways. How would you describe the band?

I just think we are a rock 'n' roll band. We definitely lean in the pop-rock direction, and sometimes we sound a little southern.

I almost hate to say that because then people think we are a southern rock band like Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Q - So you don't play "Free Bird?"

No "Free Bird" in our set. But the "Free Bird" guy seems to follow us at every concert.

Q - Of course, you and your guitarist, Phil Bogard, are childhood friends. How long have you known each other?

Since a week before we started kindergarten. Our grandmothers lived across the street from each other.

Q - And when did you decide you wanted to be in a band together?

He had been playing guitar since he was 8, and I had been singing for as long as I can remember. When we were kids, we would goof off and start playing and singing Aerosmith songs.

I was in a cover band at the beginning of college and we just happened to be firing our guitar player. I hadn't seen Phil in like a year. Our drummer in our band ran into Phil at a party and told him that we fired our guitar player.

And sure enough, Phil ended up in that band, and then that band broke up. Phil and I started writing songs, and it kind of went from there.

Q - Does it help being in a band with someone that you've known that long?

I think so. We've known each other for so long, we're kind of like brothers. We know our differences, and what we can do to help us get along.

Like Phil and I never room together. It just works out better. I like to watch sports on TV, and he likes to watch "Law and Order."

And we also kind of know each other inside and out. I tend to know what he is going to do musically, and he tends to know what I am going to do.

Q - You guys are friends with Sister Hazel, and of course you will be opening for them in Chicago. They have been playing together for a while. Have they given you any advice on how to survive in this business?

Oh, sure. The band has all the same five guys after all these years, and they all seem to get along. They have a good model of making sure they still have fun, and making sure that it's still a democracy.

It's not one person's show. Everybody in that band has equal input. I think that's helped them, and I think that helps us.

Q - Early on in your career, you had a couple of radio hits. Are you looking to repeat that success?

It always helps to have songs on the radio. It's just a matter of getting the right song, and getting some people to pick it up, and hopefully it snowballing.

We would definitely prefer to have a couple of more hits under our belt.

We never stopped playing, we never stopped touring, we never stopped working. So it would be hard for us to say that we are making a comeback, because we never actually stopped working.
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