American Love Song
Axster Bingham Records
Authentic, Heartfelt, Introspective and Gold Plated Country Rock.
With a four year gap between albums I’m not sure where Ryan Bingham fits into today’s Country Music pantheon…….. Country? Nu-Country? Ameripolitain? Country Rock? I sure don’t know, but he’s certainly still got everything there needs to be the Cover Star on all of the magazines and radio; but the industry sadly has a very short memory.
That said; his current European Acoustic tour appears to be in Sold Out Halls everywhere he appears.
So, on to his sixth album and only third we’ve reviewed (the others were Junky Star and Tomorrowland in my magazine days) and after two days I think it could be his *Spoiler Alert …… his best to date.
The quirky Honky-Tonky Jingle and Go opens the album and your feet will be tapping and shuffling from the get go, and by the third time you hear it you will be mouthing along with the chorus.
He’s back……. and on fine form!
You’ve hardly got time to catch you breath when Bingham cranks up the pace (and volume) for a spirited Country Rocker, of the Deluxe variety with Nothing Holds Me Down, which features some really dirty guitar playing too by the way!
To some degree, for me at least there are surprises around every corner…… there’s an authentic and what sounds like deeply personal Country Blues song that will send shivers down your spine; Got Damn Blues; and the album closes with another swig from the same Mason Jar, Blues Lady
(which may or may not be about Janis Joplin) and both hinting at Ryan immersing himself in The Stones Exile on Main St. album over the last few years.
The stripped back Wolves, which was a single last year is here again and finds Ryan looking back on a stormy childhood in a very poetic manner; and one a lot of other similar songwriters could learn from.
Maybe it’s the mood I’m in today; but the slow and brooding acoustic tales have really touched my soul, especially the brittle love songs Lover Girl Beautiful & Kind, which show a new found maturity in both Bingham’s writing but his delivery too.
At first it sounded in a similar vein, as it’s acoustic but when you listen intently to the final song America you hear a man who feels real pain for the state his country finds itself in; and the helplessness it leaves him and millions of others in.
I could be wrong, but it’s a song so powerful it will probably find its home in Europe as opposed to the heartlands of America itself. I hop I’m wrong.
Because the album is what it is, flitting back and forth between introspective acoustic songs and foot stompin’ Rockers, I’m going for one of each as my Favourite Songs here (but you could really stick a pin in and find a winner!)……. Pontiac is a full on Country Rocker that conjures up all of the magical and romantic images that I’ve grown up with from Bruce, Little Feet and The Burritos to name but three, and this gem sits up there with the very best.
The first time I heard Stones I took for granted that it was a Gram Parsons song; but nope this is Ryan Bingham at his most haunting and very, very best.
Since his last album Bingham has tragically lost both parents which has obviously taken it’s toll on him; but as a songwriter he get the opportunity to work out his demons in music and prose; sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively and very few have done that better than Ryan Bingham does with American Love Song from start to immaculate finish.
Released February 15th 2019