Album Review: Roadhouse Sun by Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses
Very Good, Based on 4 Critics
PopMatters - 80 Based on rating 8/10
This is country music the way God intended it to be. On his second set for Lost Highway, this Texas-reared singer-songwriter delivers a dozen tunes full of hard living, hard drinking and hard rocking. The album could just as well have been called Roadhouse Son as Bingham’s biography reads like the lyrics of a country song, the tale of a young talent nurtured by roughnecks and raised on rough times.
Everything you need to know about Bingham’s worldview is ?encapsulated in his rhyme of ”Tijuana” and ”marijuana” in ”Dylan’s Hard Rain,” the second track from ?the hard-living Texan’s latest album. Bingham isn’t an innovator, he’s a reanimator, and on Roadhouse Sun the 28-year-old breathes new life into alt-country clichés through the power of his weathered croon and his stiff-jangle arrangements.? By the end, you’ll feel like you’ve hitched a ride from Odessa to El Paso in the back of somebody’s pickup. B Download This: Listen to the song Dylan?s Hard Rain at imeem.com .
At the age of 28, Ryan Bingham already sings like he's been howling at the moon in between shots of bourbon and sucking down filterless Chesterfields every night of his life, transplanting the voice of a hard-bitten middle-aged survivor into the body of a guy still young enough to be learning a few things about the world. This disconnect is felt more than once on Roadhouse Sun, Bingham's second major-label album. While Bingham's road-worn voice and tough melodies, which veer between twang-infused rock, rowdy roadhouse blues, and hardscrabble country, certainly sound like the real thing, and his band (Corby Schaub on guitar, Elijah Ford on bass, Matt Smith on drums) has both the chops and the attitude to make these tunes stand up and crow, on Roadhouse Sun Bingham often sounds like he's singing about the stuff he wishes he knew rather than what's really in his heart and mind.
More frathouse than roadhouse troubadour Ryan Bingham worked as a ranch hand and semi-professional bull rider before turning to music. He released his debut in 2006 on a tiny Texas label, then signed to Lost Highway Records for 2007’s Mescalito. He plays up those experiences on his new album Roadhouse Sun, especially on the opener “Day Is Done”: “When the day is done,” he sings, “I was born a bad man’s son.” Trouble is, he can’t sell that line.