Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Post Rock Archive  |  About the Bloggers  |  E-mail: Click Track  |  On Twitter: Click Track  |  RSS Feeds RSS

Album review: Ryan Bingham, "Junky Star"

ryan binghamRyan Bingham's Oscar nomination hasn't changed his sound. (Brandon Wu/FTWP)

By Allison Stewart

It was one of the stranger career trajectories in recent memory: Ryan Bingham, a mid-level singer-songwriter with a slim back catalogue, was rescued from folkie purgatory by the makers of the film "Crazy Heart," for which he would eventually win both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind."

Because his victory likely had as much to do with a groundswell of support for star Jeff Bridges and awards-bait producer T-Bone Burnett as it did for his solid, workmanlike songs, Bingham's first post-Oscar release, the gravelly, understated "Junky Star," finds him in an awkward position: He's now the Three 6 Mafia of Americana acts, with a reputation bigger than anything he's actually done to deserve it.


"Junky Star," also produced by Burnett, isn't the showy, big-budget career-solidifier it might have been; luckily, it's precisely the sort of underplayed album Bingham might have made if his Hollywood detour had never happened.

Bingham wraps his hoarse, well-worn voice - the aural equivalent of Marlboros and Levis 501s - around a collection of barroom folk songs that, musically and thematically, cast back to vintage Dylan and, more specifically, "Nebraska"-era Springsteen.

With the help of his backing band, the Dead Horses, Bingham spins New Depression-era tales of lucklessness and woe that alternate between stripped-down guitar ballads and full-band rave-ups, some overly literal ("Depression"), others (the record-closing, career-high "All Choked Up Again") ragged and mournful, but just right.

Recommended tracks: "All Choked Up Again," "Hallelujah," "Depression"

By Allison Stewart  |  August 31, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Ryan Bingman  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Guns N’ Roses in concert controversy shocker; Randy Johnson, rock photog; Arcade Fire takes you back home
Next: Album review: Kingpen Slim, "The Beam Up 2"

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company