Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses - Roadhouse Sun

I often wonder if record labels get stressed when an artist tries to top a great debut. After all sustainability can only be proven over time. Then again such anxiety just comes with the territory. Mescalito established Bingham and had critics crowing about his future. Expectations can be a burden, but Roadhouse Sun reveals a Ryan Bingham that is undaunted as his rough hewn voice moves from song to song in a follow up that actually tops its’ predecessor. This shouldn’t be a surprise since he is a former competitor on the Southwestern rodeo circuit. After all, some pencil necked A&R lackey or cynical critic is nothing compared to 8 seconds on the back of bull. In fact, if you are not familiar with Bingham’s story just pick up any Cormac McCarthy novel and you will get the picture. He is not the kind of person to be concerned with the opinions of others. He simply delivers raw emotion and honesty.

Roadhouse Sun is harder driving than Mescalito. In fact, the album title is an allusion to the mood of the album. Bingham is still a troubadour with lyrics that reflect the contemplation of a life spent on the road, yet the music is often ready for Saturday night. It is as if there is a battle going on between home sickness and wanderlust and home front is losing. However, it is precisely this tension that creates the almost perfect balance of Roadhouse Sun. The album is a trip that is both rewarding and fun. So it is time for everyone to forget their expectations of Ryan Bingham because he has arrived.

This review also appears on Twangville