George Ryan Bingham (born March 31, 1981) is an Americana singer-songwriter currently based in Los Angeles, California.
After receiving critical acclaim for his first two studio releases on Lost Highway Records, 2007's Mescalito and 2009's Roadhouse Sun, Bingham went on to collaborate with Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack for the 2009 acclaimed film Crazy Heart, including notably co-writing and performing the film's award-winning theme song, "The Weary Kind". The title track earned Bingham an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Critics' Choice Award for "Best Song" in 2010, as well as a Grammy Award for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" in 2011. The Americana Music Association also honored Bingham with the organization's top award in 2010 as "Artist of the Year".
Bingham joined back up with his band the Dead Horses to release their third studio album, Junky Star, on August 31, 2010. The album debuted in the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 Chart & in the Top 10 on the Billboard Rock Album Chart, making Junky Star Bingham’s highest charting and most successful release to date.
In 2012, Bingham parted ways with the Dead Horses and record label Lost Highway Records to release his fourth studio album, Tomorrowland, on his own Axster Bingham Records label.
In 2013, Bingham wrote and recorded "Until I'm One With You", the theme song for FX TV drama series The Bridge. The song is Bingham's first screen track since his Academy Award win for best theme song in 2010. "Until I'm One With You" was released as a digital single on Bingham's own Axster Bingham Records label on June 25, 2013.
Bingham released his fifth studio album, Fear and Saturday Night, on Axster Bingham Records on January 20, 2015. The album was produced by Jim Scott at Plyrz Studio outside of Los Angeles, California.
On August 6, 2016, Bingham recorded his first live album, "Ryan Bingham Live", at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, TX. The album was released on October 21, 2016 through Bingham's own label, Axster Bingham Records. The entire Whitewater Amphitheater show was also filmed and streamed live by Amazon Music.
Bingham was born in Hobbs, New Mexico, grew up in West Texas and went to high school in Houston, Texas, at Westfield High School.
Bingham got his first guitar as a 16-year-old when his mother bought him one. At the time, they were living in Laredo, Texas. Although he was fascinated by music, he left his guitar dormant in his closet for around a year, until Bingham's old neighbor, whom he used to drink beer with at his back porch, taught him a classical Mariachi song called "La Malaguena" in segments. Soon, he moved to the Fort Worth area in Texas, and with growing interest in playing music, he started seeking new songs to learn. Bingham started playing gigs in bars that he and his friends used to hang out in and that's how his career as a musician initially began.
After issuing self-released "Wishbone Saloon" and "Dead Horses", the latter distributed by Lone Star Music, Bingham was signed to Lost Highway Records, who issued his first major label debut with Mescalito on October 2, 2007, produced by former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford. Texas Music Magazine has opined that "Bingham talks and sings with a whiskey-and-cigarette throat that screams hard living. Hard in a way that can make a 29-year-old sound like a 50-year-old Tom Waits." Bingham spent several years on the rodeo circuit: He began bullriding in his late teens. His family moved several times, from Hobbs to Spring and Stephenville, Texas.
Bingham's bandmates, The Dead Horses, are Matthew Smith (drums), Corby Schaub (guitar and mandolin) and Elijah Ford (bass). The bass player on Mescalito was Jeb Stuart. They appeared with the Drive-by Truckers on the PBS show Austin City Limits in October 2007. The first single from Mescalito, entitled "Southside of Heaven," was released on November 30, 2007. The next single was entitled "Bread and Water."
On June 2, 2009, Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses released their second album titled Roadhouse Sun via Lost Highway Records. It was once again produced by Marc Ford.
Bingham performed two songs for the soundtrack of the movie Crazy Heart, including "I Don't Know," and the theme song, "The Weary Kind." In addition to these performances, Bingham wrote "The Weary Kind" and was produced by T Bone Burnett. He also had a small role in the film as Tony. On January 17, 2010, Bingham was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards. The song won Best Original Song at the 2010 82nd Academy Awards, as well as Song of the Year at the 9th Annual Americana Music Association awards. Bingham's third major label release, Junky Star, was released on Lost Highway Records on August 31, 2010.
On September 18, 2012, Bingham co-produced and released his fourth studio album Tomorrowland on Axster Bingham Records. The first single released from Tomorrowland is "Heart of Rhythm." Both the single and the official lyric video debuted on Americansongwriter.com on July 30, 2012.
Bingham’s second Tomorrowland single "Guess Who’s Knockin" debuted on Rollingstone.com on September 6, 2012. The official music video for "Guess Who’s Knocking" premiered on Pastmagazine.com October 4, 2012. Bingham released a song titled "Back By the River" on "The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac and his Music," in 2016.
Bingham has appeared as a guest on Bob Harris's Country Show on the BBC's Radio 2. Daryl Easlea, writing for the BBC's folk and country review, said "Bingham will be one of the names to drop in 2008, with an album that sounds as if it's been unearthed from 1972."
Rolling Stone magazine gave Mescalito three out of five stars and wrote that Bingham "earns his sepia-toned album cover with a dusty wood-and-steel sound, and despite being twenty-five, sings like Steve Earle's dad."
PopMatters review of Tomorrowland awarded the album with 8 out of 10 stars. Greg M. Scwartz, writing for Popmatters wrote, that “The one-time pro rodeo rider turned Texas troubadour has blues, country, and Americana influences that are certainly still there. But at his core, Bingham has always been a rock ‘n’ roller and Tomorrowland features him rocking at his best.”
Tomorrowland was also reviewed by Nico Isaac from Paste (magazine). Isaac wrote: “Tomorrowland is like a good, ol’ fashioned rock anthem of kiss-my-asschaps autonomy… One things for sure Tomorrowland- the album and the red-blooded, rattlesnake-eating rebellious attitude—is no place for the weary kind.”
Bingham currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Anna Axter, who also directed his music videos. He announced at his performance in Austin, TX on March 5, 2015 that he and his wife are expecting their first child in the summer of 2015. Bingham's song "Broken Heart Tattoo" from Fear And Saturday Night is a reflection about what he would like to say to his unborn child. Ryan's mother drank herself to death and his father committed suicide. Bingham's "Never Far Behind" from his "Tomorrowland" album is about his parents.