Ick's Pick

Ick’s Pick (Week XXII): Ryan Bingham’s Roadhouse Sun

“Bad ass”. If I had to describe the new Ryan Bingham album in two words, those would be them. Show me a more bad ass release this year. You can’t. Because Ryan Bingham brings it on this album. A former rider on the pro rodeo circuit; hailing from Hobbs, New Mexico; the frequent cowboy hat: you’d expect a good dose of “country”. And there is, but mixed in with equal parts rock, blues, and roots.

I liken the album to Steve Earle’s I Feel Alright, in the way it just chugs along with a freshness and vitality, an innovative blast of roots tinged-rock and roll, and quiet moments that dig deep into the soul. Two entities shape this album in a big way. The first is Ryan Bingham’s singing voice: tough, leathery, and twangy. The other is his backup band, the Dead Horses. I’ll have to look into how they cut these songs together, but they sound like the full band in studio. They must be a killer band to see live, and you bet your bum I’ll be the first in line when they come to Arizona.

Standout tracks for me right now:

  • “Change Is” – a seven minute rocker with a brush stroke of psychedelia; the full band breakouts on this track make me think of the Black Crowes at their rocking-est moments.
  • “Bluebird” – there’s a hypnotic quality to this bluesy rocker. The lyrics are dark, defiant, and fascinating. I’m still trying to figure out what the “Bluebird” refers to.I’m down on the river baby, but I’m stuck on the other side love,
    From a rope my heart is hanging, water rises on a lonely soul,
    And I’ll take my chances breathing, ain’t never gonna hold my breath,
    Because I know if I stay waiting, my bluebird is gonna bleed to death.

    Read all the lyrics here.

  • “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So” – from the title, I thought it would be a ballad, but what it is is an uptempo barnburner with a good dose of mandolin, banjo, and guitars.

Roadhouse Sun will be the soundtrack to many an experience this summer – a collection of songs so unique and impressive in their own right that my personal favorites will likely rotate for a while.

Buy Roadhouse Sun today, it’ll do you good. The Amazon MP3 Store still has their special version available for $3.99.


  • Cam

    Thanks Pete. I’d been meaning to check this one out, sounds like it lives up to the hype!

    My only exposure to Ryan was on Austin City Limits this spring; he was in the 2nd half hour of the show with DBT ‘opening’. I thought both deserved a full hour, but I am a bit biased..

  • Julie

    keep checking his website for tour info. Saw him in Flagstaff a few weeks ago and it was as good a show as i will see all year and that includes Springsteen! He and the band are the REAL DEAL!

    Also check out his album Mescalito.

  • Pete

    I remember your email about Mescalito, Julie. I got a few of the tracks, now I get the album! Let me know if you see any local dates.. I’m there…

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