This could very well be my last trip through Military City, USA, so I’m sitting here bleary-eyed with my Starbucks breakfast sandwich and fancy-ass coffee in hand reflecting back on my past trips through this terminal. And, believe me, there is no better Texas-inspired music to reflect to than Ryan Bingham and this morning I’m finally getting a chance to listen to his newest album ‘Fear and Saturday Night‘.
This album represents Bingham’s 5th release (January, 2015), this time on his own independent record label Axster-Bingham Records. It’s about as perfect a send off from Texas as I’m ever going to get with songs about gun fighters, whiskey, down and out souls and strangers from “San Antone”.
Somewhere after his shot at the Big Time with the soundtrack to ‘Crazy Heart’, the 2009 film that won Jeff Bridges his long deserved Oscar, Bingham wound up sliding back into his indie status. According to Rolling Stone Country:
“Bingham wrote most of the 12 tracks alone in an airstream trailer, parked in the mountains of California without electricity or a cell phone. The seclusion gave him creative clarity that resulted in songs inspired by an unstable childhood, and by the deaths of his mother to alcoholism and his father to suicide.”
Happy album? Not. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s tough to listen to or unenjoyable, even in the slightest. It’s a smaller scale from his previous albums to be sure, but the ballads still reign supreme like the melancholic ‘Nobody Knows My Trouble‘ and the delicate introspection of ‘My Diamond Is Too Rough‘. As the title suggests, Bingham sounds beaten up with that craggy, creaky voice that sounds older than his years – although they are beginning to catch up with him. There are some upbeat moments as well with the Tex-Mex flair of ‘Adventures of You and Me‘ and the Bo Diddley-esque beat to ‘Hands of Time‘. My favorite however is the slow burning fire that steadily builds into the pulsing crescendo of ‘Radio‘. I had to listen to that track twice.
Together, it all provides for some pretty relaxing and peaceful moments here at Gate B7 looking out the window onto the airport tarmac reflecting back on my past adventures here in San Antonio (click HERE) including all those hot and gross runs around Woodlawn Lake, yoga with rattlesnakes, neon lights, grid lock traffic, Tex-Mex, neck tattoos, biscuits and gravy, huge ass burgers, craft beer and more grilled proteins than you could shake a dead calf at. I’ll miss it all.