Singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham turned the GRAMMY Museum into a rodeo-style night club when he visited on Sept. 1 as part of The Drop series, appearing before an intimate audience of 200 on the day after the release of his third album, Junky Star.
Bingham engaged in conversation about the inspiration behind Junky Star, produced by 10-time GRAMMY winner T Bone Burnett, working with producer/musician Marc Ford on previous albums, writing the theme song for Crazy Heart and his acting role in the film, and performing live with his band the Dead Horses.
Bingham and the Dead Horses — bassist Elijah Ford, guitarist Corby Schaub and drummer Matthew Smith — recorded Junky Star in just three days, working with Burnett at the Village in Los Angeles. The album is not far removed from the band's two previous releases as Bingham again draws on his own dark and personal experiences for inspiration, creating an authenticity that can only come from one who's been down-and-out.
"I didn't have the worst of the worst but I definitely didn't have the best," said Bingham on growing up in rural Texas where he spent years working on a ranch and riding bulls in rodeo competitions.
Following the discussion, the Dead Horses joined Bingham onstage to perform a few selections off Junky Star, including "Depression," "Hallelujah," "The Poet," and "Direction Of The Wind." Following the performance, the band signed autographs for the audience.
After issuing the self-released albums Lost Bound Rails, Dead Horses and Wishbone Saloon, Bingham's old-fashioned, road-weary sound caught the interest of Lost Highway Records, which signed the artist and issued his major label debut, Mescalito, in 2007. Two years later Bingham and the Dead Horses followed up with Roadhouse Sun. In 2009 Bingham teamed up with Burnett to create music for the film Crazy Heart and wrote "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)," which garnered him Oscar and Golden Globe honors.
While the release of Junky Star has garnered national attention and high accolades, Bingham remains grounded.
"Music inspires me, not people's opinions," said Bingham.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include American Express Presents An Evening With Roseanne Cash (Oct. 5), Reel To Reel: Music Of Ireland (Oct. 7), The Drop: Dave Koz (Oct. 12), and The Drop: John Legend And The Roots (Oct. 18).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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