Those expecting that Ryan Bingham may move in the direction of his CRAZY HEART song The Weary Kind with his new album may be surprised its full on nature of much of the new album. It's all change for Tomorrowland , the first album for his own label Axster Bingham, a label he formed with his wife after leaving Lost Highway.
Bingham has co-produced the album with Justin Stanley, who also recorded and mixed the album. Ryan has also disbanded The Dead Horses and put together a smaller unit with just drummer Matt Sherrod and bassist Shawn Davis. Bingham plays electric guitar and provides the shredded rust-hued vocals that sound older that his years but which are very much his trademark since his first independent album, 2002’s Wishbone Saloon.
Here the music is sharp and angular with Ryan’s guitar taking centre stage and providing much of the tension in the songs. He also beings some heart into the songs that often are directed attacks on the negativity that surrounds the many lost souls and struggling lives he has surveyed.Bingham does this on the restrained No Help From God with brushed drums and minimal electric guitar. It is a potent song that conveys it's meaning well. It is in contrast with the attack of Guess Who's Knocking with it's expletive vocal refrain. This is a man who sees his country on a road to moral bankruptcy, where the real money is only for the rich.
His anger is translated into these thirteen songs that, in many ways, are more aligned with his live shows where there is a deal of energy and electricity running like a live current through the music. If you know Ryan Bingham from his previous albums you will know what to expect but TOMORROWLAND switches the notion of country-rock around to give the latter more scope than the former which is fine by me.
Extended listening reveals a beating heart that tells his story and displays his passions. Bingham has taken control of his music and his destiny and, as he says on Neverending Show, "I don't need no marquee sign, I don't need my name in lights" and he tells us of other's expectation and that he "don't need the rhinestone suit, someone else can hang it on the wall", rather a real love is what he seeks and he hopes he won't run out of gas traveling to the never ending show to find it. On the strength of this there are many miles and many roads that Ryan Bingham can travel to his Tomorrowland and many will be happy to travel with him