Editors’ Notes For better or worse, Jack Ingram no longer wears the Texas-rebel colors that earned him a cult following in the ‘90s. These days, he swims in the Nashville mainstream, but does so with intelligence and taste. Big Dreams & High Hopes rocks with assurance and draws upon real experience for its stories of country life and love. In addition to Ingram’s Summer ’09 smash hit “Barefoot and Crazy,” a rollicking ode to Southern outdoor fun, the swaggering “Barbie Doll” (featuring Dierks Bentley, among a slew of other country notables) and the exuberant “Free” are among the upbeat highlights here. Ingram reveals autobiographical hints in “Not Giving Up On Me” (an acoustic-powered lesson in emotional growth) and “In the Corner” (a sober anthem set to an atmospheric track). Even when he covers familiar ground — as in the playfully steamy “Man In Your Life” — he puts his own stamp on the tune. Among the ballads, “Seeing Stars” (a duet with Patty Griffin) stands out for its unassuming tenderness.

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