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CD Reviews: Ingram Hill
Ingram Hill: June's Picture Show
March 2004
By: Matt Boltz
album cover of Ingram Hill's cd June's Picture Show

On the heels of touring virtually nonstop behind their self-released debut EP Until Now, it would have been hard to blame the members of Ingram Hill if they wanted to take a lot of time off to relax; however, the Memphis-based quartet wasn't about to lose the momentum they built by playing to audiences throughout the country and selling more than ten thousand copies of Until Now. The band released their first full-length album, June's Picture Show, in late 2003, choosing to take the independent route as they had done with their EP. Good fortune intervened, and shortly after the release of June's Picture Show, Ingram Hill was signed to their first major label, Hollywood Records, who re-released the album on February 24, 2004.

The twelve tracks on June's Picture Show are very musically and lyrically cohesive, though the musical tone sometimes contrasts with the lyrics; for the most part, the music is upbeat and catchy while the lyrics of several songs deal with serious topics like sadness, longing, and uncertainty. Vocalist/guitarist Justin Moore does a good job of storytelling with his lyrics, while at the same time leaving enough ambiguity to allow the listener to create his or her own interpretation of the song. Drummer Matt Chambless and bassist/vocalist Shea Sowell provide an extremely solid backbone for the guitar work of Phil Bogard and Moore, while the clarity, strength, and consistency of Moore's voice complete the album. Ingram Hill uses a variety of tempos and guitar tones throughout the album, mixing clean acoustic guitars with distorted electric tones, and even strings as on Waste It All On You.

Most of the choruses on June's Picture Show are repetitive in a catchy way, as are many of the hooks and riffs; several of the songs have a familiar-sounding quality to them, yet they all have their own unique identities and the Southern Pop Rock sound that is becoming Ingram Hill's trademark. The band's sound is very accessible and can appeal to fans of a few different musical styles, particularly pop and rock, especially Southern-tinged rock. While June's Picture Show rocks, it does so tastefully--- it never approaches the point of being too loud or heavy, but it's more than enough to get a listener singing or humming along.

Notwithstanding the upbeat music, the lyrics have a serious tone and deal with topics with which most people are familiar. Almost Perfect tells of a man who is trying to accept that his girlfriend has more faults in the relationship than he would like to let himself believe. Maybe It's Me also deals with the topic of realization as Moore sings of a man who is realizing that maybe a failed relationship is really his fault, rather than the fault of other factors he has been trying to blame. On My Way is the story of a man who is very bitter about the end of a relationship and wants only for his former love to be miserable. Moore's lyrics are very straightforward in this song as he sings, Doesn't matter who is wrong here / I just wanna see you cry / And on my way I'll take the sunshine / On my way I'll take your dreams. The haunting tune To Your Grave tells of a man who is about to kill his girlfriend; Moore sings, Feel my love and my pain, 'cause I'll be there / When you try / To stay alive / Don't you cry / But this is the last we'll say goodbye / Goodbye. The touching song The Captain deals with the equally serious but more uplifting subject of parenthood: Mold your life the best I can / Cause soon you'll be out on your own and Sleep between us in the bed / Guess we'll stay in Memphis instead are among Moore's words of wisdom in this tune.

Ingram Hill does an excellent job of blending their music with their lyrics into songs that sound well-crafted and thought out. Overall, the musicianship, lyrics, storytelling and production on June's Picture Show are very tight. The songwriting and performing reflect the band's strong work ethic and experience with touring, and they are quickly reaching the musical level of bands whose members are considerably older and who have been together much longer than Moore, Chambless, Sowell, and Bogard. June's Picture Show is a very solid and impressive album--- it's even more remarkable considering that this is the group's first full-length album and that it was completed independently. Luckily for Ingram Hill and the band's fans, Hollywood Records has stepped in and provided the band with the backing and resources of a major label. If things continue to go half as well for Ingram Hill as they have in the past several months, June's Picture Show will earn the band a spot in more and more CD players as they continue their extensive tour schedule and Hollywood Records provides them with the backing they deserve.

To read an interview with Ingram Hill, go here: