In Ryan Bingham’s song “Hard Times,” he sings of making good moments from bad, and that’s exactly what happened Saturday night at the El Rey, where a boisterous capacity crowd cheered this young country-rocker’s bleak confessionals as though they were top-down summer jams. Addressing the audience with a splash of surprise in his weather-beaten voice, Bingham at one point compared the concert to a “pre-Super Bowl party”; earlier, his rhyme of “Tijuana” and “marijuana” had inspired plenty of spirited whoops.
Credit “Crazy Heart.” Last year, Bingham won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for “The Weary Kind,” his theme song from the Jeff Bridges film about a washed-up country star. That Hollywood attention has greatly expanded Bingham’s following, as has his partnership with producer T Bone Burnett, who cowrote “The Weary Kind” and oversaw Bingham’s 2010 album, “Junky Star.” (Burnett’s other clients include Willie Nelson, Elton John and Elvis Costello.) Where Bingham’s first two efforts played mostly to an alt-country core, “Junky Star” has connected with younger, more varied listeners. Place the record in your cart on Amazon and that site will recommend recent discs by Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon to go with it.
Category: Ryan Bingham