Memphis-based rock band Ingram Hill has experienced some changes since their last album, 2007's Cold in California.
The band's third full-length album, Look Your Best, which was released on September 28th, was the band's first with new bassist Zach Kirk, a Memphian who was previously in the local band Perspective, and its last with original drummer Matt Chambliss, who played on the record but left the band shortly after. Rob Coleman, another Memphis guy, has been filling in on drums on the band's current tour.
On the road since a few weeks before the album's release, the band — led by singer Justin Moore and guitarist Phil Bogard — will wrap up this initial series of Look Your Best tours with a return home this week for what has become an annual Thanksgiving concert at Sam's Town Casino.
The album is also the band's first release for a new label, Rock Ridge Music. Cold in California and the band's debut, June's Picture Show, were on Hollywood Records.
"When our relationship with Hollywood ended, we weren't sure what to do for a minute," Moore says. "We made [Look Your Best] independently and shopped it to labels."
The band ended up going with Rock Ridge Music because of the strong recommendations of music-industry friends on the label, such as Sister Hazel, Joe Firstman, and the Benjy Davis Project.
But if the album represents new developments, it also represents a return to the familiar. After recording Cold in California in Los Angeles, the band returned to producer Rick Beato in Atlanta, who had presided over June's Picture Show.
"We had worked together so much that we trusted each other musically," Moore says. "Rick felt almost like another member of the band. It wasn't like working with another producer. I trust his ideas about our music as much as I trust Phil or myself."
Ingram Hill, which was formed while Moore and Bogard were students at the University of Memphis, built its initial audience with heavy touring on the Southern college circuit, and the band returned to those roots to launch Look Your Best, teaming with the Benjy Davis Project for an "SEC Tour" — hitting every college town in the Southeastern Conference.
"They're from Baton Rouge," Moore says of the band's tourmates. "And we've made our bread and butter playing SEC towns. With the record coming out, it made sense to pair up with them and hit every SEC town — to double our turnout."
The tour did pose some problems for Moore, who is strictly a Tiger guy when it comes to college sports fandom. "It sucks that we had to do that during football season [instead of basketball season]," Moore says. "I had to hold my tongue for a bit."
The band is planning a marathon drive home from a Washington, D.C., gig in order to have Thanksgiving with their families before their Sam's Town show Friday night.
"If we had to, we could take Thanksgiving Day [for the trip home], but none of us wants to have Thanksgiving at Piccadilly," Moore says.
The band will take a month or so break after their Thanksgiving show and then hit the road — and the water — again.
After a few Midwestern dates in December, the band will board the Rock Boat in early January, performing onboard a cruise liner as part of a floating music festival hosted by Sister Hazel. Other bands on the trip include Will Hoge, Green River Ordinance, Antigone Rising, and NeedtoBreathe. This will be Ingram Hill's fourth time on the Rock Boat but their first time in three years.
"It's a lot of fun. You've got concerts going on all over the boat on multiple stages," Moore says. "So it's like a working vacation."
Ingram Hill plays Sam's Town Casino on Friday, November 26th. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.