Academy of Country Music Awards was Jack Ingram‘s “Barbie Doll,” a raucous throwdown with pal Dierks Bentley that ended with two dozen girls mobbing the men on stage and rubbing up against them in all sorts of inappropriate ways.One of the best performances on Sunday night’s
“Barbie Doll” first appeared on Ingram’s 1999 Hey You, a terrific album from the days when Ingram was a superstar in Texas and nowhere else; it was repurposed on last year’s Big Dreams & High Hopes, Ingram’s first record after winning Top “New” Artist at the 2008 ACMs, 13 years into his 15-year career. For old-school Ingram fans, his transition from Texas to Nashville has been more than a little awkward to watch, like a perfect junkyard dog after a trip to the groomers: it’s not that we don’t want him to be clean, we just fell in love with him dirty. I took him to task for Big Dreams & High Hopes, but thankfully, Ingram’s still speaking to me, and we caught up backstage after his ACM rehearsal for an honest conversation about why he’s currently touring smaller venues, what he hopes the “Barbie Doll” performance will accomplish, and why up until now, his mainstream country career has just been “small talk.”
How do you feel about where you are in your career, and how things are going? I know you’re out playing bars and small clubs, and it’s a return to where you started. Where are you hoping that leads?
It’s kinda just coming back around. Making a run through and hopefully coming back out the other side again. There’s a certain intimacy that you get in a bar show that you can’t get opening for people in front of thousands. And I’ve got so many fans in the last five or six years that haven’t been in that scene with me, so I feel like they maybe missed out on a certain energy that might create separation between me and other artists that are doing as well as I am. It’s still a business on some level. I’m not selling as many records as I want to, and I’m not headlining yet. So I still need to figure out how to make that big move that I came here for. And I think part of that is making a deeper connection with my existing fans, and letting them know why — I mean, in music we try to pretend that it’s not competitive or whatever. But there needs to be some separation, me saying why I’m important to you in a different way that Artist #17 is. READ FULL STORY