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Ingram Hill’ to bring southern style to Notre Dame

Mary Squillace | Wednesday, September 28, 2005

There are certain songs that connote the feeling of cruising down wide-open country roads – songs that almost require windows down and a full view of the down-home countryside that stretches ahead. With its emotionally-driven, sing-out-loud lyrics, powerful guitar interplay and lead singer Justin Moore’s distinctive southern accent, band Ingram Hill invites Notre Dame students to take just such a journey this Saturday at Legends.

Predictably, the four-piece band hails from the south, and even found the inspiration for its name along a Mississippi highway.

“There was an exit sign along the highway, and it actually says ‘Ingram’s Mill,’ but I misread the sign as ‘Ingram Hill,’ and when we were deciding what to call ourselves, we liked the name and where it came from, so we decided to use it,” Moore said in an interview on ingramhillmusic.com. “After we had the name for a while and told people where it came from, they were like, ‘You idiots – it’s Ingram’s Mill.'”

However, fans have since overlooked the Memphis-based band’s geographically incorrect name. To date, Ingram Hill’s success consists of two album releases, radio play, television appearances and the song “Will I Ever Make It Home” appearing in both the movie and on the soundtrack of “13 Going on 30.”

Additionally, after opening for a variety of headliners, from Maroon 5 to Lisa Marie Presley, Ingram Hill made enough of an impression on the road that the band was able to headline itself the second time through cities.

This success paved the way for the band’s recent full-length album debut, “June’s Picture Show.” The album features what the band has branded “pop-rock with a southern twist,” and the band draws upon influences as diverse as the Black Crowes and Tonic.

“We’re a rock and roll band,” Moore said, “and we want to have guitar solos, but we also write songs. … Someone once said that if there was a southern pop category, we’d own it. I kinda like that. We’re proud of where we’re from, and we’re proud of what we do.”

But the album presents more than simply a unique sound.

“This album is a kind of blueprint of our lives as emotional beings,” guitarist Phil Bogard said. “It’s about everything that’s affected us up to this point – the major pains and the good things as well.”

These emotions are not only expressed in lyrics of songs like “On My Way,” a catchy anthem about post-breakup bitterness, and “Almost Perfect,” which describes an agonizing love-triangle – but also surface in Moore’s sincere and powerful vocals.

Unsurprisingly, the inspiration for a number of these tracks stemmed from the breakup of a relationship.

“I was devastated when it ended, but I’m thankful for it now,” Moore said. “It’s provided me with tons of material. I look at it as an emotional investment. We’d all been through some issues with women, and, boy, that’s the easiest thing to write about, I’ll tell you what. And it seems like people relate to it.”

Currently the band is in the process of a nearly nonstop tour across the country, and its members’ ambitions remain unhampered by their hectic schedule.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I would love to end up something like U2,” Bogard said. “Something that’s huge and lasts forever – that would definitely be the ultimate goal.”

Ingram Hill brings its southern style to Legends’ stage on Saturday at 10 p.m.