Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Album Review: Ryan Bingham- Fear and Saturday Night

Ryan Bingham
Fear and Saturday Night
**and1/2 out of *****
Having already achieved more fame then most in his field will ever see via an Oscar for "The Weary Kind" Ryan Bingham has simply never settled. He has sifted and searched for inspiration in various fields, going bar room whiskey fueled rock and roll on Tomorrowland and now looking inward for Fear and Saturday Night.

Written while he secluded himself in a trailer way up in the California Mountains without electricity the New Mexican born singer/songwriter examined his parents early deaths and put those feelings into a variety of song styles that flirt in and out of country, western, honky-tonk and acoustic strumming.    

While the musical presentation may change the one constant is the voice. Bingham has a gruff vocal sound that instantly establishes a weathered pioneer among the western sun drenched landscapes of the southwest United States. If he is plodding through an Anders Osborne sluggish rocker on "Top Shelf Drug" or getting his Mexicali inspired Bruce Springsteen upbeat shuffle rolling for "Adventures of You and Me" the one constant is that distinct and engaging vocal.   

Bingham albums seem to be content to place filler around the two or three songs he digs into. Here the singles "Broken Heart Tattoo" and "Radio" standout for different reasons. "Broken Heart Tattoo" is Ryan at his most open expressing his doubts and fears to an unborn child with the best lyrical work on the disk in front of a waltzing guitar and harmonica combo. "Radio" contains the best musicality on the album, an easy drum beat, deep groove, jam session feel that gets put over the top with some well placed piano work before an ending rave up that will soar live.

A track like "Island in the Sky" is more the norm when it comes to Bingham records. It possesses an Americana spiritual feeling without getting specific; something that can become a detriment to Bingham's writing. A generic sense of everyone and yet no one seeps in lyrically not delivering the emotional impact some of the tunes hint at and the voice can clearly convey.  The production is gorgeous as Jim Scott (Tom Petty's Wildflowers, Wilco's Wilco The Album) easily finds threads between Binghams various styles and helps with cohesion and crisp homespun sounds.

While the title track has to be the most depressing going out and partying song possibly ever, Bingham adds another chapter to his life with Fear and Saturday Night. Wherever he is on his journey it is worth checking on in, pouring a whiskey and seeing where he's at.
We reviewed Junky Star by Bingham and enjoyed Tomorrowland and the same pluses and minuses are here with Fear and Saturday Night.

Support the artist here, buy the album here and peep some video below:

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