"He's his own man, and a singular talent at that."
RYAN BINGHAM &
THE DEAD HORSES
Producer: Marc Ford
Release Date: June 2
Texas singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham made
a spash with his 2007 debute, "Mescalito,"
and here he reteams with producer Marc
Ford (ex-Black Crowes), who also lends his
considerable guitar talents to the project.
As with its predecessor, there are some
rousing Crowes-like moments, notably on the
pulsing, explosive "Change Is"; with its
squalling slide guitars and Bingham's
tequila-and-cigarettes-strafed vocals, it
just might be the year's best Southern rock
rave-up. There's also critical catnip
by way of a Byrds/Springsteen jangler whose
title name-checks a certain icon ("Dylan's
Hard Rain," a cynical look at the state of
the union), while distinctive echoes of
that same legend crop up in "Roadhouse
Blues," whose tack piano and barrelhouse
rhythm locates it directly in "Highway 61
Revisited" territory, right down to the
singer's uncannily familiar raspy sneer.
Lofty comparisons, sure. But Bingham's
not a "new" anything: He's his own man,
and a singular talent at that. -FM