Live: Ryan Bingham, Houston

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Ryan Bingham

Lots of fun Friday at Cactus Music in Houston, as Ryan Bingham dropped by to perform a handful of tunes from his latest studio album, Tomorrowland.  The acoustic set included the rollicking “The Road I’m On,” “Never Ending Show” and “Western Shore.”

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There’s Ryan Bingham in Houston, back there with the gimme cap.

Bingham is, of course, the Academy Award-winning writer and singer of “The Weary Kind,” from the movie Crazy Heart, and the latest in a long line of fine singer-songwriters of the Texas tradition. This was a bit of a homecoming for Bingham, because he spent his high school years in Houston before taking off to join the rodeo circuit.

Tomorrowland, Bingham’s fourth studio album, is a bit of a rocker that’s earned good reviews. At the in-store on Friday, Bingham stripped the songs down to their acoustic underpinnings but the boy’s a heck of a guitar player, so they rocked nevertheless. “Never Ending Show” is one of his many road songs, declaring “I don’t need the marquee lights/I don’t need my name in lights” while all he wants is to “hopefully make it home.”

“Too Deep To Fill”  is perhaps the album’s best song, Bingham’s mission statement of why he’s hitting the road again: “I’m going out to the country/I’m going to see if I can find out why,” while reminding the listener he will won’t stray forever with “I hope to be home by supper time.”

People in Houston kill me: this capacity show at the record store (complete with firemen on hand, ostensibly to prevent too many people breaking the fire code) required a purchase and a bit of trouble to enter. Still, there were pockets of people who’d rather stand and gab with their bros and ugly girlfriends, instead of relinquishing 30 minutes of attention to this fine artist. Bingham seemed to sense this, so his set at Cactus was a bit shorter than the one he performed the day before in Austin.

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Bingham took some time to meet the fans and sign autographs afterward.

The people who really were there for the music were early and up front, one even offered Bingham a swig from his whiskey flask which the singer happily obliged. The payoff was a rollicking version of early song “Bread and Water” with the lyric “Houston always brings me down” delivered with a big smile from Bingham.

We didn’t get the surprise treat that Bingham offered the Austin audience, a cover of Robert Earl Keen’s “The Road Goes On Forever.” But you can see it on the YouTube video below, at about the 36:30 mark.

If you want to see Bingham with his full band, he plays March 10 in Houston at House of Blues. Or catch him at another tour stop, click here for a list.

YouTube: “The Road I’m On,” live at Cactus Music, Houston, 2/1/2013

YouTube: “Keep It Together”

Videos courtesy of pokabeb

YouTube: Ryan Bingham plays an in-store at Waterloo Records, Austin, 1/31/2013. Thanks to Bob Knauf for the video.

Ryan Bingham official web site

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