Ryan Bingham

Ryan Bingham
Event on 2015-11-14 20:00:00
with Jamestown Revival
Ryan Bingham needed some peace and quiet. Free of the burdens that had saddledhim during the writing and recording of his recent albums, he relocated to an oldairstream trailer tucked away in the mountains of California, camping out for severalweeks and embracing the solitude to dig down deep and craft his most powerful albumyet, '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 onlything you'd hear is the bugs and the coyotes. It's lonely when you get back up in thereand there's nobody around, but for me, I kind of grew up that way in the middle ofnowhere. Since I've started touring, I'm surrounded by people all the time, so gettingback to the roots of everything, thats really where I seem to find stuff that'smeaningful when I'm writing songs."Bingham was actually in the back of a van in North Dakota when he wrote 'The WearyKind,' a song that became the centerpiece of the 2010 film 'Crazy Heart' starring JeffBridges. It earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, andskyrocketed him into the spotlight. Amidst the incredible success, though, was tragicloss behind the scenes that few knew about."A lot of peopled didn't realize when that Oscar stuff was going on and 'Junky Star' wasreleased, I was dealing with the loss of my parents," says Bingham, who released thefollow-up album 'Tomorrowland' as a direct reaction to the emotional turmoil thatsurrounded him. "My mother drank herself to death, and my father shot himself. I wasalso going through a huge transition with the bandwe were breaking upand I felt solost playing with different musicians for the first time in years."There were positive changes in his life during that time, too, including his marriage,which serves as a frequent well of inspiration on 'Fear and Saturday Night,' particularlyon tracks like "Snow Falls In June" and "Top Shelf Drug," a Stones-esque rocker that'sbound to become a live favorite.Bingham never really set out to be a musician, though. His mother bought him a guitarwhen he was 16 years old, and a neighbor taught him a mariachi tune. When he grewtired 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 withthe tumultuousness of his upbringing. His first performances were informal affairs inthe backseats of cars with friends on the way to rodeos, where he was competingprofessionally on the weekends. Every now and then, Bingham's friends would convincehim to break out the guitar in a bar, and before he knew it, he had more gigs playingguitar than riding bulls.Recorded mostly live with a brand new backing band and under the guidance ofproducer/engineer Jim Scott, 'Fear and Saturday Night' opens with "Nobody Knows MyTrouble," a loping, autobiographical ballad about trying to outrun a painful past andfinding redemption both in the strings of a guitar and in hitting the road with the loveof your life. "Adventures Of You And Me" is a slide-guitar and mariachi-tinged barnburnerabout a pair of misfits who travel the country together, while "Island In TheSky" again picks up the theme of travel as a means of salvation and escape."I feel like I've been traveling my whole life, even from when I was a little kid," saysBingham. "Both of my parents were really bad alcoholics, and my dad could never keepdown a job, so we never lived in the same town for more than a couple years. Andeven if we did, we'd move to different houses every other month. It felt like I lived outof a cardboard box growing up until I was old enough to buy my own suitcase, and thenI was just running from everything."Bingham faces down his past with a poetic grace throughout the album. Lead single"Radio" is about coping with a darkness that doesn't want to let go, searching for a safeplace to make sense of your life and the strength to stay on the right track through itall, while "Hands of Time" deals with accepting what's behind you and moving forwardwith grit and determination. On "Broken Heart Tattoos," a wistful waltz written to anunborn child, he imagines what kind of parent he'll become, singing, "Take your sweettime and walk a straight line in two / But dont you be shy of your wilder side / Or beafraid to let loose / With broken heart tattoos." Perhaps the most affecting momenton the album arrives in the title track, when Bingham sings, "I don't fear nothin' exceptfor myself / So I'm gonna go out there and raise me some hell.""Certain things aren't going to change," he explains of the song. "You can't run away orhide from the past. You have to live in it and deal with stuff and find your own way toovercome. The way I grew up," he continues, "you had to develop a certain kind oftoughness. Hanging with those guys on the rodeo circuits, you learn at an early agehow to defend yourself. There's lots of fights and rowdy bars and mean people outthere. But if you're smart enough to stay out of situations where other people can hurtyou, you're the only one who can really hurt yourself. That's something I had to learnon my own."Those hard-learned lessons, through both good times and bad, helped make Binghamthe man he is today. 'Fear and Saturday Night' is the most authentic, personal, anddeeply moving portrait of that man we've heard yet.

at Neptune Theatre
1303 NE 45th
Seattle, United States

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