When Jack Ingram won the 2008 Academy of Country Music award for “Best New Male Vocalist,” thousands of people in the audience had to be smiling to themselves about that whole “new” thing. They knew the thirty-something, steel-eyed veteran accepting that trophy on that stage in Vegas had been rocking roadhouses, theaters and stadiums relentlessly since 1997, that he’d been celebrated by critics and fans of hard-core country music for more than a decade, and that as a Texas-born songwriter and performer, he’d been on the short list of next generation artists who could fill the boots of Lone Star legends like Willie and Waylon and the boys. But the award did mean that Ingram, after trials and setbacks that would have buckled other artists, had at last matched the commercial success he’d always wanted with the integrity on which he’d always insisted. So he told the crowd with no small measure of pride and triumph that night that “big dreams and high hopes” can come true. As if to validate and amplify that truth, Ingram remained in the forefront of country music with his album Big Dreams & High Hopes, the seventh studio disc of his career. Inspired by the music of his heroes Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and many others, Ingram’s latest album, Midnight Motel, is his first album in seven years and was released in August 2016.