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.