Name a music biz award and young pro-bull-rider-turned-dusty-throated-troubadour Ryan Bingham has probably won it. His song “The Weary Kind,” from the 2009 Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart, was awarded everything from an Oscar to a Grammy. And did I mention he used to be a pro bull-rider? That’s some serious country-western cred — I’d like to see Toby Keith or Kenny Chesney try and ride one.
And Bingham’s got the burnished-leather, whiskey-and-spurs sound to back it up. Bingham’s first few records, released on the Americana record label Lost Highway, quickly garnered the Texan songwriter heir-apparent-to-Steve-Earle status, having more in common with Ryan Adams than Garth Brooks. His latest release, 2012’s Tomorrowland, out on his own label Axster Bingham Records, continues in much the same vein, if perhaps pursuing Bingham’s dreams of arena-sized rock ‘n’ roll stardom a teensy bit harder.
Tomorrowland opens with “Beg for Broken Legs.” Bingham defiantly barks “I ain’t gonna bite my tongue” over an Aerosmith-esque guitar riff that resolves into an orchestral denouement recalling the Paul McCartney and Wings’ classic “Live and Let Die.” Bingham does a spooky-good Springsteen impersonation on “Flower Bomb” and “Rising Of The Ghetto,” while raiding Jack White’s sludgy and rusty guitar sound for “Guess Who’s Knocking,” in which the singer threatens: “Guess who is knockin’ on the door; It’s me, motherfucker, I’m knockin’ on the door.”
Ryan Bingham plays with Wild Feathers 7:30 pm Saturday, June 8, at WOW Hall; $20 adv., $22.50 door.