Roadhouse Sun (2009)
|Artist: Ryan Bingham|
|Ryan Bingham has spent most of his life on the road, first on the rough-and-tumble rodeo circuit, then moving from town to town on the equally volatile roadhouse musical circuit. Those travels have given him plenty of material to draw from - and plenty of reason to stop for a moment to dig in his heels and take a stand.|
That's exactly what the Texas-bred troubadour does on his second Lost Highway album, Roadhouse Sun, a hardscrabble collection that's at once unblinkingly personal and unapologetically political - the latter a new and bracingly vivid addition to Bingham's palette. The expanded consciousness bursts to the surface of several cuts on Roadhouse Sun - nowhere more movingly than on "Dylan's Hard Rain," a stark look into the darker corners of an America in which the storm its namesake sang of has blown through.
"With all that's happened politically and economically in the last couple of years, I felt like there was a lot to say," explains the 28-year-old singer-songwriter. "As a young person, I felt like it was time to get involved, to write something that wasn't just about Saturday nights in bars. And as far as Dylan? Things that were happening back then are still happening. Things keep repeating themselves."
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Ryan Bingham: Corby Schaub (guitars, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, dobro, mandolin, background vocals); Matt Smith (drums, background vocals).|
|Personnel: Ryan Bingham (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, keyboards, background vocals); Elijah Ford (electric 12-string guitar, piano, bass guitar, background vocals).|
|Additional personnel: Marc Ford (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar, piano, bass guitar, shaker, tambourine, background vocals); Anthony Arivizu (snare drum, cymbals, shaker, percussion).|
|Audio Mixers: Anthony Arivizu; Marc Ford .|
|Audio Remasterer: Kevin Bartley.|
|New Mexico alt-country singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham's third album, ROADHOUSE SUN is an organic-sounding, rough-hewn affair that spotlights Bingham's whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, the steady and soulful accompaniment of his band, the Dead Horses, and tunes that tell of living life the hard way. Like its predecessor, ROADHOUSE SUN is produced by former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford. Touches of bluegrass and country mingle freely with jangly folk and roadhouse rock & roll for a sound considerably more distinctive than many of Bingham's roots-rock peers.|
Producer: Anthony Arivizu; Marc Ford
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|Release Date : 06/02/2009|
|Original Release Date : 2009|
|Catalog ID : 001273902|
|Label : Lost Highway|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00602527006383|
- "[E]mbellished with a bit more pop and politics, a convincing step beyond his promisingly earthy 2007 debut."
- "[T]he 28-year-old breathes new life into alt-country clich?s through the power of his weathered croon and his stiff-jangle arrangements." -- Grade: B
- "[T]here are some rousing Crowes-like moments, notably on the pulsing, explosive 'Change Is'; with its squalling slide guitars and Bingham's tequila-and-cigarettes-strafed vocals..."
Roadhouse Sun showcases Bingham's flair for cutting a listener to the quick with slashing, blues-inflected guitar leads that'd do Lone Star forebears like Lightnin' Hopkins proud - his approach on the steely "Endless Ways" - and then offering a balm of bucolic melody, like that of the soaring "Bluebird." He and his road-tested band stretch out most intriguingly, however, on the epic "Change Is," seven minutes of meditative, hypnotic riffing that builds to a near-psychedelic crescendo as Bingham spins his tale of empowerment and responsibility.
"In some ways, I'd gotten burned out on the straight-ahead country scene," he says. "Because I wear a cowboy hat, people assume we're just this honky-tonk band, and we're not. I want to be seen as a versatile artist who draws on a lot of different things and tells a lot of different stories."
They're tough stories, to be sure, but Bingham has come by them honestly. He's lived on his own since his mid-teens, when circumstances and substance abuse tore apart his nuclear family. Rather than get sucked into the system that's destroyed so many adolescents, he took a road far less traveled - riding bulls on the highly-competitive rodeo circuit around the Midwest and southwest. It was on these long hauls that Bingham was able to get in touch with his musical muse, taking things public one night at a bar in Stephenville, Texas. "A bunch of friends asked me to play a couple songs for them. I went out and got my guitar and the owner said 'you oughta come on in and play now and then,'" he recalls. "So I did - I started playing every Wednesday night and people started showing up to hear me play - it was pretty much an accident, I guess." That 'accident' led Bingham to offer up a passel of self-released, no-budget CDs like 2005's Wishbone Saloon.
The tunes contained on those fueled many a barroom jukebox and earned the attention of folks like Texas legend Terry Allen (who dubbed him "the legitimate heir to the hard traveling deep knowing likes of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams.") and Joe Ely (who marveled that "his stories plant an uppercut to the gut and give a hint that truth is on the run.").
The accolades intensified with the release of his Lost Highway bow, Mescalito, which earned raves in The Washington Post, Esquire and Black Book, which noted "Bingham forces you to hang on his every word." Bingham was also the subject of an extensive Los Angeles Times "Arts & Music, Calendar" section cover story, which lead to his network television debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a performance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien shortly after. In 2009, Ryan appeared on the acclaimed PBS series Austin City Limits with a 30-minute set that featured the first television performances of "Snake Eyes" and "Tell My Mother I Miss Her So" from Roadhouse Sun.
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