Cowboy ready to light up Oxford stage

17 May

This story originally ran in the Feb. 2008 Scene section of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.



Ryan Bingham and band

Ryan Bingham and band

OXFORD – “I’ve been a desperado in West Texas so long, I need a change,” sings Ryan Bingham, his voice full of the dirt and grit he’s swallowed during his years as a bull rider and son of a ranching family.


Seems like these days, anyone can throw on a cowboy hat, add a little twang to their voice and sing about lovin’ and leavin’ and be called a country music singer. Few of them have lived the wandering lifestyle, actually roped cows or rode bulls – but Bingham has.

Bingham, 25, grew up with his ranching family in West Texas and New Mexico, sings his blend of country and rock ‘n’ roll with a voice that sounds as twice as old as it is. His voice and lyrics all come naturally, he said.

“I was living down in Laredo, Texas. I was about 16 or 17, and my mama bought me a guitar,” he said in a phone interview. “I was still going to rodeos, and then I’d sit in the backseat and make up songs with my buddies…we’d have parties in parking lots and then we’d go to bars and stuff and come in and play the songs we’d been making up. The people in the bars started asking me to come back.”

Bingham signed to Lost Highway Records, home to Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash and Lyle Lovett, and released his first record, “Mescalito.”

“It’s a lot of hard work and kind of frustrating” recording a debut record, he said in a phone interview from the road. “But it is a lot different to go to play a show and see people who know the songs.”

His live show is full of energy, he said.

“We break out the electric guitars,” Bingham said. “We like to play some rock ‘n’ roll.”

Bingham and his fellow bandmembers, drummer Matthew Smith and guitarist Corby Schaub, will go back to the studio in March, but there are still lots of tour dates keeping the band busy. 

Until going to the studio, Bingham will be on the road – and the road is what he knows best.

“We haven’t had a lot of time off. I think I’ve been home two weeks in the past three or four months,” he said. “(Recording is) kind of like having time off from working. Time off from the road, at least.”

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