Texas singer-songwriter Jack Ingram has his first hit on the Country chart. But it took him more than a decade to achieve mainstream success. VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report on Jack Ingram's new album "Live - Wherever You Are."

"Love You" is one of two studio tracks Jack Ingram included on his new live album. Live - Wherever You Are is his first release on Big Machine Records, a label created last year by Country superstar Toby Keith and run by industry veteran Scott Borchetta.

Jack began writing songs and playing guitar while studying psychology in college. He feels that music and psychology both center on the need to help people cope with everyday problems.

"I see the world in great detail and see what people are saying to each other and how they're acting toward each other and how the world is affecting us, and how we act out and I write about it," he said.

For many years, Jack has been a popular performer throughout his home state of Texas. Jack calls himself a Country artist, but admits his sound can sometimes be hard to label.

"For me, the lines between Country and rock music have always been blurred, and they just get blurrier as we go on," he said. "You know, Bon Jovi's on the Country chart right now and Sheryl Crow had a Number One [Country] hit last year. So, for me, it's always been about two kinds of music, good or bad."

In addition to many fan favorites, Jack's new album includes a live cover of "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line," a song made famous by his idol, the late Waylon Jennings. His other musical influences include Texas legends Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker and rock superstars Bruce Springsteen and U2. Jack is known for his high-energy concerts. He says his favorite performers taught him how to entertain live audiences.

"There's an element to putting on a live show that I learned by watching my heroes," he said. "To make a connection, whether it's 10 people of 10,000 people that you have to reach everybody in the room and the sole purpose is to make people forget about their problems for a while and truly be entertained. That's kind of the school I come from, of trying to reach out and grab people."

This past New Year's Eve, Jack broke the attendance record at the 3,000-seat Gilley's nightclub in Dallas, Texas. Before releasing his next studio collection, he'll spend most of 2006 promoting his latest album with shows throughout the United States.

Jack says he's grateful for the national recognition he's finally receiving and doesn't take his newfound success for granted.

"It's been a long time coming and it's a lot of fun," he said. "Every week for me is new territory. I really have been focusing on enjoying each week because you never know when it might end. No matter what, in this business, the one thing you know is that it's fleeting."