April 16, 2009 — The baseball season is just getting underway, but Jack Ingram already has one game in particular on his calendar: He's performing a post-game concert Saturday in Arlington, Texas, after the Rangers host the Kansas City Royals.
It's kind of a homecoming for Jack. In a less fruitful point in his career, the Rangers put him to work singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." LeAnn Rimes and the Dixie Chicks had done that for the team many times on their way up, and for Jack, the gig was a well-timed boost to his sense of purpose.
"It was July 4, maybe 2001," he recalls. "I'd just got dropped from [a] label, and I was gigging around Texas, trying to create something meaningful in my home state, because in the end, you know, it's about where you come home to. And those fans, all over Texas, that was all so real for me, it really kept me going. Then to be asked to do the National Anthem on the 4th of July, it was like a sign to stick to my dream. No matter what happened, or how hard it got, keep the faith, and it would all work out."
Jack's not the only country artist with a current sports tie-in. Among others:
• LeAnn Rimes is set to deliver the National Anthem May 2 before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. It will be the first live performance of the "Banner" by a national recording artist in the 135-year history of the event.
• Emily West sings the very first National Anthem at the new $50-million Aces Ballpark in Reno, Nev., prior to Friday's opening-night game between the Reno Aces and the Salt Lake Bees, according to The North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
• Darius Rucker is slated to perform at a May 8 benefit thrown by NFL quarterback Peyton Manning at Lucas Oil Stadium, The Indianapolis Star reported.
• Danielle Peck sang the National Anthem in Rome, Ga., Tuesday before a minor-league game between the hometown Braves and the Savannah Sand Gnats.
• Kenny Chesney was set to appear Thursday on ESPN Radio's sports-talk show "Mike And Mike In The Morning."
• The Charlie Daniels Band will perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" May 1 before the Lipton Tea 250 NASCAR race in Richmond, Va.
• The Oak Ridge Boys performed the National Anthe m on opening day at Nashville's Greer Stadium when the AAA Sounds hosted the New Orleans Zephyrs.
• In addition to Jack Ingram, the Texas Rangers have post-game shows slated this year with Robert Earl Keen, May 16; and Reckless Kelly, June 13.