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Ingram Hill brings Southern pop-rock to ND

Mary Squillace | Tuesday, October 4, 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 their emotionally driven, sing-out-loud lyrics, powerful guitar interplay and lead singer Justin Moore’s distinctive southern accent, band Ingram Hill invited Notre Dame students to take just such a journey Saturday at Legends.

The four-piece band hails from the South and even found the inspiration for their name along a Mississippi highway.

In an interview before their performance Moore and guitarist Phil Bogard claimed, “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. 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 a variety of headliners, from Maroon 5 to Lisa Marie Presley, Ingram Hill made enough of an impression on the road that they were able to headline themselves the second time through cities.

This success paved the way for their 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 ‘n roll band,” said Moore during the interview, “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.”

However, their album presents more than simply a unique sound from the band.

Bogard said, “This album is a kind of blueprint of our lives as emotional beings. 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 that centers around post-breakup bitterness and “Almost Perfect,” which describes an agonizing love triangle, but surface in Moore’s sincere and powerful vocals.

Unsurprisingly, the inspiration for a number of these tracks stemmed from the breakup of a relationship. Moore explains on the Web site, “I was devastated when it ended, but I’m thankful for it now. 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 non-stop tour across the country, and their ambitions remain unhampered by their hectic schedule. Moore claims through the site, “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I would love to end up something like U2. Something that’s huge and lasts forever – that would definitely be the ultimate goal.”

Ingram Hill brought their southern style to Legends’ stage last Saturday at 10 p.m. For those who missed them, visit www.ingramhillmusic.com for music samples and more information about the band.