Lovers Lane
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Ryan Bingham reviewed

| July 8, 2009

Roadhouse Sun
(Lost Highway)


Of the criticisms levelled against Ryan Bingham’s major-label debut, Mescalito, was its obsession with establishing the author in a fabric of hobos, grifters, and drifters, an attempt to build cred through self-mythology.

Appearing: Saturday, July 11 at Martyrs in Chicago.

Driving this home was Bingham’s predilection for gritty folk and roots rock, his 50-year-old rasp in a 25-year-old body, and the decision to let Marc Ford – a former Black Crowe and fellow retroperson – twist the recording knobs. A man with a rep like this doesn’t stand a chance with any jury in the county. But Bingham doesn’t listen – or if he does, he don’t care. In fact, he rubs it in. Roadhouse Sun packs song titles like “Snake Eyes,” “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So,” “Rollin Highway Blues,” and “Roadhouse Blues,” the latter of which has about as much gravitas as Cinderella did when they sang about Gypsy roads. Yet Bingham’s blind resolve is not only charming, but almost magnetic. Unlike so many ramblers who’ve flown the Woody flag — from Brixton to Bakersfield — he packed some melodies in his carry-all (“Dylan’s Hard Rain”) and is mindful of modern rock enough to know when to evoke the Crowes and Kings Of Leon (“Bluebird,” “Change Is” respectively). Just in case, he can go to 11, as he does with the Mellencamp-meets-Two Cow Garage howl of “Endless Ways.” There’s a story here after all.


Steve Forstneger

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Category: Spins, Weekly

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