Ryan Bingham – Weary Kind

Ryan Bingham

Alright readers, this time I’m coming through for you. I am actually featuring an artist before he performs in Minneapolis. Ryan Bingham is a little bit rock and more than a little bit country. Although he routinely ranks higher on the country music charts than he does on rock or indie charts, a voice like worn sandpaper (seriously, you just want him to clear his throat, but you know that would spoil everything) and an eclectic repertoire has helped him elude being pigeonholed in any single genre of music. In 2010, Bingham won Grammy, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe for his work on the Crazy Heart soundtrack, but he is not afraid to shake up his established style. His newest record Tomorrowland takes a fairly dramatic shift from the country to the rock & roll side of the music spectrum. I’m going to be honest and say it is not his best album and, like Bob Dylan when he decided to switch from acoustic folk to electric rock, I am comfortable saying that Ryan Bingham will likely lose fans over this transition, but I think he’ll come through it and continue to develop his musical style.

In order to show this music shift, I am going to post two videos. The first is The Weary Kind, his biggest hit and the reason behind his Academy Award and Artist of the Year Grammy. I think it is representative of much of his older music and his country roots with maybe a little more singer/songwriter feel to it than some of his other stuff. The second is Heart of Rhythm off of his newest album from last fall. I’m sure you’ll hear the difference, so I don’t feel a need to explain it further. I’m sure you can guess which Bingham I prefer, but I want to know what you, valued readers, think. Especially if this is your first time hearing him.


Catch Ryan Bingham live at First Ave. on March 17th.

Tessellate by Alt-J (▲)

It’s been too long since I’ve written here!

This is a song I’ve been meaning to talk about for a couple months now. I heard it on the Current  a while back and each time I listen to it I become more enthralled by the composition and dynamics of this song. It’s difficult to describe Alt-J’s (▲) sound. The mellow, melodic vocals, catchy beats and subtle electronic sounds create something very attractive. Most of their stuff provides great ambiance and should be listened to multiple times.

I hope you enjoy it!


Love Knows No End by Hillsong Live

Written by: Ben Fielding, Harrison Wood & Reuben Morgan

Love Knows No End is a track from the newly released Cornerstone – Live album by Hillsong. The song is sung by David Ware on the album, I think he’s got a great voice. His heart really seems to be in the worship while, at the same time, I get the impression that his voice has not shown it’s full potential – and this is a good thing – I love it when worship leaders are truly exalting God with His people rather than performing.

I lift my eyes to see Your face
I know my help is in Your Name
In everything held by hands of mercy

I will run and not grow weary
I will rise in God my strength
My heart will trust for all my hope is Christ alone

Now my soul sings
Your love it knows no end
Your love it knows no end
Your love it knows no end

I will love for You have loved
I will forgive as You forgive
Your love prevails
You fill my life with hope again

You reign forever
You reign forever
You are the light unto this world

CCLI Song # 6177355

Revelation Blues by The Tallest Man On Earth

This is one of my new favorite artists. It looks like it’s basically a lone Swede, Kristian Matsson, but he must’ve had some help on his first album, or played multiple instruments. There are times when Mattson’s music reminds me of Bob Dylan, and other times in which he reminds me of Tom Petty. I’m sure there’s something else there that I can’t put my finger on, but I haven’t figured it out yet. Thanks to The Current for introducing me to yet another great artist!

I was more than just a coward
I was handsome too
I felt nothing when your flood came down
holding fines that made me wonder if the lights were wrong
with my hands that never touched no ground

When your talent is in numbers
of the many times you’re gone
I could lie I don’t care about forgiving
but sometimes it’s just roses dying too young.

As I’m fencing up the hours
in the fields of red
while you think I’m on a loveless straight
in the letters from the lovers in a land gone wrong
explanations always written late

When your talent curse the framing
of the crying you heard sung
I could lie I don’t care about what’s missing
but sometimes it’s just roses dying too young

Your train of thoughts is always passing here
with its falling paint, and its broken gears
it’s the damn revelation blues when you see the path
and you know you won’t be the last,
oh lord…

I was more than just a terror
I was crying too
but you showed me in the gusts between
that a wind is sometimes broken and its flying path
has no meaning nor a ghost within

When your talent is in hiding
that your feeling is always wrong
I always want to bring you something
but sometimes it’s just roses dying too young.

Misty Mountains Cold by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien: 1892-1973

I’ve been re-reading The Hobbit in anticipation of the movie coming out this winter. Something I’ve always loved about Tolkien is his songwriting/poem writing skills. The lyrics he wrote for various songs in each of his books remind me of old hymns and folk songs, and I’m guessing that is what he was aiming to portray.

This version of the dwarves’ song was composed by Howard Shore (Who also composed the scores for each of The Lord of the Rings movies.) I’m excited to hear more in December!

Here are the original lyrics from The Hobbit:

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and stars.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

Storm by Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez has some great mellow, bassy music that primarily consists of guitar-picking and low, relaxing melodies. I especially like the walk-down of the bass notes in the song “Storm” and the intensity that contrasts the calming nature of the song.

You Are Mine by Enter the Worship Circle

Enter the Worship Circle began with Ben and Robin Pasley in 1993. I recommend going to their site and checking out the full story here: http://www.entertheworshipcircle.com/page/about-us

I planned to share “Centuries” by Aaron Strumpel of Enter the Worship Circle, but I was not able to find a decent recording that was easy to link to. If you have Spotify you can check it out here:

“You Are Mine” is written and performed by Karla Adolphe. This song is great reminder of the purpose God has for us and that we are not put here to merely survive, but to be his vessels and come closer to seeing the full extent of what his infinite power can accomplish through us. It comes from Isaiah 43:1-2.

Maybe I don’t have the strength
Maybe I don’t have the faith
You brought me here in 40 years
I know this trip should take a week

I’ve shed my tears and shed my blood
Been held ransom by the flood
The winter steals my soul away
In all of this I’ve come undone

When you walk though the water, I will be with you
When you pass through the river, the waves will not overtake you
When you walk on the fire, the flames they will not touch you
You are mine, you are mine, you are mine

I’ve been a child, I’ve been a slave
I’ve grown bitter and learned to pray
Packed my bags and started back
The cost was just to high to pay

The Prisoner’s Song by Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash had an incredible influence on the world of music over the years. His prison recordings are especially powerful because of who he’s performing for and the fact that he could empathize with those men.

This song was not actually written by Johnny Cash (He mentions that in the recording) but it is a great rendition.

The version I really like below has a great piano solo and a classic Johnny Cash intro:

But if you don’t have Spotify or would like to hear more of the back story of the song, you can watch here:

To A Poet by First Aid Kit

Hometown: Enskede, Sweden

Many of you have probably heard the song “Emmylou” or possibly the song “The Lion’s Roar” by sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, better known as First Aid Kit. It’s interesting that a sound with such a remarkable resemblance to 60’s and 70’s folk and country music would come out of Sweden. The sisters have flawless harmonies that could only come from years of singing together and familiarizing themselves with one another’s voices.

In addition to checking out the video below, you can also watch the video that launched their career: The 2008 cover of Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes (Which is one of my favorite bands.)

Jealous of the Moon by Nickel Creek

If you haven’t checked out Nickel Creek, stop whatever you’re doing and listen to this song. Then try to peel yourself away from the computer after listening to every subsequent song of theirs you discover.

I had the opportunity to see Nickel Creek in concert twice and they were both fantastic shows. In addition to lots of their wonderful songs, they did a cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 – Which were both very musically pleasing as well as entertaining.

I was devastated when I heard Nickel Creek was breaking up. Well…maybe devastated is too strong a word, but I was really disappointed. Fortunately, the three albums they released while they were together never get old.

“Jealous of the Moon” showcases Chris Thile’s (Vocals, mandolin) talent for wordplay as well as the trio’s sweet harmonies, topped off with their amazing talents on each of their respective instruments.