Ryan Bingham used to be a bull rider, like his grandfather, and was on the rodeo circuit for several years. However, he points out that you can't ride a bull half-assed, so when he had to choose between the rodeo and music, music won. But an adrenaline junky still needs a fix, so he took up surfing. Riding waves may be a lot like riding bulls.
Bingham has had a circus ride of a year. He picked up the best song Golden Globe and Oscar for "The Weary Kind" from the film Crazy Heart. He describes the six-month-long award season, from nominations to ceremony, as "surreal" madness. "It was like being on another planet," he adds with a laugh. "It was exciting and shocking that we won."
An Oscar is a good little award to put a musician on the map. However Bingham and his band the Dead Horses have already released two critically acclaimed albums on Lost Highway Records. And the third, Junky Star, is due out on Sept 7. To see the video for the first single "Depression" click here.
Why the Junky Star title? "I don't really know what that means," he says, takes a beat, then adds, "Yea I do. It means 'rough around the edges.' It's an imperfect star."
Bingham asked 10-time Grammy-winning producer/musician T-Bone Burnett, who also produced the music for Crazy Heart, to help him on Junky Star.
"T-Bone is amazing," Bingham says. "He listened to the songs. Liked what he heard. We went into the studio and cut the album in three days."
Right now Bingham is doing select private shows to spread word of mouth around the release and in Sept he hits the road opening for Willie Nelson.
"Willie Nelson," he exclaims. "I can hardly wait!"