Ryan Bingham

Biography

Ryan Bingham needed some peace and quiet. Free of the burdens that had saddled him during the writing and recording of his recent albums, he relocated to an old airstream trailer tucked away in the mountains of California, camping out for several weeks and embracing the solitude to dig down deep and craft his most powerful album yet, 'Fear and Saturday Night.'

"It gave me the space and time to tap into myself," Bingham says of the experience. "Up there, it was totally isolated. No phones, no noise, no lights. At night the only thing you'd hear is the bugs and the coyotes. It's lonely when you get back up in there and there's nobody around, but for me, I kind of grew up that way in the middle of nowhere. Since I've started touring, I'm surrounded by people all the time, so getting back to the roots of everything, that’s really where I seem to find stuff that's meaningful when I'm writing songs."

Bingham was actually in the back of a van in North Dakota when he wrote 'The Weary Kind,' a song that became the centerpiece of the 2010 film 'Crazy Heart' starring Jeff Bridges. It earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, and skyrocketed him into the spotlight. Amidst the incredible success, though, was tragic loss behind the scenes that few knew about.

"A lot of peopled didn't realize when that Oscar stuff was going on and 'Junky Star' was released, I was dealing with the loss of my parents," says Bingham, who released the follow-up album 'Tomorrowland' as a direct reaction to the emotional turmoil that surrounded him. "My mother drank herself to death, and my father shot himself. I was also going through a huge transition with the band—we were breaking up—and I felt so lost playing with different musicians for the first time in years."

Bingham never really set out to be a musician, though. His mother bought him a guitar when he was 16 years old, and a neighbor taught him a mariachi tune. When he grew tired of playing the only song he knew, Bingham began penning his own music, discovering the writing process to be a therapeutic coping mechanism for dealing with the tumultuousness of his upbringing. His first performances were informal affairs in the backseats of cars with friends on the way to rodeos, where he was competing professionally on the weekends. Every now and then, Bingham's friends would convince him to break out the guitar in a bar, and before he knew it, he had more gigs playing guitar than riding bulls.

Recorded mostly live with a brand new backing band and under the guidance of producer/engineer Jim Scott, 'Fear and Saturday Night' opens with "Nobody Knows My Trouble," a loping, autobiographical ballad about trying to outrun a painful past and finding redemption both in the strings of a guitar and in hitting the road with the love of your life. "Adventures Of You And Me" is a slide-guitar and mariachi-tinged barn-burner about a pair of misfits who travel the country together, while "Island In The Sky" again picks up the theme of travel as a means of salvation and escape.


Those hard-learned lessons, through both good times and bad, helped make Bingham the man he is today. 'Fear and Saturday Night' is the most authentic, personal, and deeply moving portrait of that man we've heard yet.