Ryan Bingham‘s life is reflected in his whiskey and cigarette soaked voice. Before releasing his first two records, before connecting with T. Bone Burnett, and before winning an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award (for the song “The Weary Kind,” featured in the movie Crazy Heart), Bingham was a bull rider, growing up in a family that hopped around Texas.
Bingham put out his first record out on Lost Highway Records (Hayes Carll, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson) in 2007, produced by The Black Crowes‘ guitarist Marc Ford. The first single, “Southside of Heaven,” is heavy with everything we’ve come to want and expect from Bingham. It is gravelly, it is rough, and damned if it doesn’t sound like the heartbeat of the American west. Slide guitar, the harmonica, the tambourine and his gravelly voice all come together to make for a great and purely American song.
The video doesn’t try to get cute…it features dirt roads, sepia tones, cowboy hats, lonely roads and beat-up trucks. It’s a perfect visualization of the song: Bingham walks along a desolate train track to an empty bar in the middle of nowhere only to find three other musicians on the same path. Odds are: he won’t be quite so isolated this weekend performing at the Hangout Music Fest.