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Ryan Bingham
Bingham performing live at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, 2019
Bingham performing live at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, 2019
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Ryan Bingham
Born (1981-03-31) March 31, 1981 (age 40)
Hobbs, New Mexico, United States
OriginAustin, Texas
GenresAmericana,[1] roots rock[2]
Occupation(s)Musician, Actor
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2006–present
  • Axster Bingham Records
  • Lost Highway Records

Ryan Bingham (born George Ryan Bingham on March 31, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter and actor, whose music spans multiple genres.[3][4] He is currently based in Los Angeles, California.[5]

As of 2019, Bingham has released six studio albums and one live album, the last four of which were released under his own label, Axster Bingham Records.[6][7][8][9]

Originally from Hobbs, New Mexico, Bingham grew up all across the Southwestern United States. He set out on his own at an early age, joining the rodeo circuit as a bull rider in his teens.[10] Bingham learned music on a guitar gifted to him by his mother at age 16, initially playing after rodeos for his friends.[11] Eventually, he began playing in small bars and honky tonks across the West, landing him in Los Angeles, California. Bingham signed his first record deal with Lost Highway Records (UMG) in 2007.[12]

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,[13] as well as a Grammy Award for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" in 2011.[14] The Americana Music Association also honored Bingham with the organization's top award in 2010 as "Artist of the Year".[15]

Bingham's most recent album, American Love Song, was released on February 15, 2019. "Wolves", off American Love Song was inspired in part by the March For Our Lives students who were dealing with grown men and women questioning their integrity on social media.[16] The song was also featured on the TV series Yellowstone.[17] Bingham sang "Wolves" as the series' character, Walker, whom he plays on the show.[18]

In April 2019 Bingham partnered with Live Nation to launch his own music festival, The Western. The inaugural event took place over two days in Luckenbach, Texas.[19]

Early life

Bingham was born in Hobbs, New Mexico. His family relocated to the Midland–Odessa area of West Texas, before eventually moving to Houston. He attended high school primarily in Houston at Westfield High School.

Bingham's mother purchased his first guitar when he was 16 years old. Although he was fascinated by music, he left his guitar dormant in his closet. Roughly a year later, Bingham hitchhiked back west to Laredo, Texas, in hopes of landing a job with his father, carrying the guitar with him on the trip. Bingham's father enjoyed having neighbors over on their porch to drink beer, and one of them taught him a classical Mariachi song called "La Malaguena" in segments. Though he loved playing the song, it was the only one he would learn during his time in Laredo.

He relocated to Stephenville, Texas. There, he began learning more music while also riding on the rodeo team at Tarleton State University. It was in Stephenville that he would write arguably his most well-known hit "Southside Of Heaven" in a trailer house. He also began to play local gigs there, namely a local golf course and a few small bars.

While in Stephenville, Bingham had a friend that caught wind of a job in Paris, France, with the Wild West Show at the Disney Resort. He bought a one-way ticket with $100 in his pocket. Upon arrival, he was informed that the manager he had a mutual friend with was no longer with the company, and he found himself stranded with his guitar and old rigging bag from his rodeo days. Luckily, he found some friends-of-friends within the Disney programs and began playing music in local parks for tips.

Eventually, he saved enough money to get back to Texas and moved in with a rodeo buddy near Fort Worth. His friend had a brother (Matthew "Papa" Smith) that cut hair during the day and played drums as a hobby. After an introduction and impromptu gig at an empty bar in Fort Worth, he and Papa would go on to be the founding members of Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses.[20] Marc Ford of the Black Crowes was one of the few people in the bar that night. He approached Bingham after the gig with an offer to record an album.[21][22]


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."[23] Bingham spent several years on the rodeo circuit. He began bull riding in his late teens.[24][25]

Bingham's former band, The Dead Horses, was composed of Matthew "Papa" Smith (drums), Corby Schaub (guitar and mandolin) and Marc Ford's son Elijah (bass). The bass player on Mescalito was Jeb Venable (a.k.a. Jeb Stuart), with Joe Allen credited as well, plus a contribution from John Bazz on upright bass. Bingham appeared with the Drive-by Truckers on Austin City Limits in October 2007. The first single from Mescalito, entitled "Southside of Heaven", was released on November 30, 2007. The second single was entitled "Bread and Water".

On June 2, 2009, Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses released their second studio album titled Roadhouse Sun via Lost Highway Records. It was once again produced by Marc Ford.

Ryan Bingham from his 2009 release - Roadhouse Sun
Ryan Bingham from his 2009 release - Roadhouse Sun

Bingham performed two songs for the soundtrack of the movie Crazy Heart, including "I Don't Know," and the theme song, "The Weary Kind". The song was co-written by Bingham and producer, T Bone Burnett. Bingham also played a small role in the film. On January 17, 2010, Bingham was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind". The song also won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Original Song,[26][27] the 2010 Grammy award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media,[28] as well as Song of the Year at the 9th Annual Americana Music Association awards.[29]

Bingham rejoined 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[30] & in the Top 10 on the Billboard Rock Album Chart,[31] 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.[32] Bingham co-produced the album with musician/producer Justin Stanley. The first single released from Tomorrowland was "Heart of Rhythm". Both the single and the official lyric video debuted on on July 30, 2012.[33] Bingham's second Tomorrowland single "Guess Who's Knockin" debuted on on September 6, 2012.[34] The official music video for "Guess Who's Knocking" premiered on October 4, 2012.[35]

In 2013, Bingham's song "For Anyone's Sake" appeared in the closing credits of the feature film Joe, starring Nicolas Cage. Bingham wrote the song for the film, and it was released as part of the film's original soundtrack in April 2014.[36][37] In the same year, Bingham also 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.[38]

In 2014 Bingham starred opposite Imogen Poots in the independent film A Country Called Home, directed and co-written by his wife, Anna Axster. Bingham also wrote and recorded the film's title track "A Country Called Home". The song was released digitally through Bingham's own label, Axster Bingham Records, on May 6, 2016.[39]

Bingham's fifth studio album Fear And Saturday Night was recorded mostly live at Plyrz Studio outside of Los Angeles, California.[40] The album was co-produced by Jim Scott and released through Axster Bingham Records on January 20, 2015. The album's first single "Radio" was released on December 9, 2014. In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone magazine Bingham shared, "'Radio' is a song I wrote about the thoughts, memories, and emotions that roll through my mind. The radio that's constantly playing in your head, night and day."[41]

On August 6, 2016, Bingham recorded his first live album, Ryan Bingham Live, at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas. The album was released on October 21, 2016. The entire Whitewater Amphitheater show was also filmed and streamed live by Amazon Music.[42]

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.[43]

In 2018–2020, Bingham has a guest role in the contemporary Western television show, Yellowstone, as Walker, an itinerant ranch hand.[18][44][45]

In December 2018, Bingham announced that he would be releasing his sixth studio album American Love Song in February 2019.


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."[46]

Ryan Bingham & Joe Ely - Antone's during SXSW 2008 - Austin, TX.
Ryan Bingham & Joe Ely - Antone's during SXSW 2008 - Austin, TX.

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."[47]

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.”[48]

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 thing's for sure Tomorrowland- the album and the red-blooded, rattlesnake-eating rebellious attitude—is no place for the weary kind.” [32]

Personal life

Bingham currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Anna Axster, who also directed his music videos. They have three children.[49][50] He announced at his performance in Austin, Texas, on March 5, 2015 that he and his wife were 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.[51] 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.[52][53]


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Country




Mescalito 37
Roadhouse Sun
  • Release date: June 2, 2009
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
17 65
Junky Star
  • Release date: August 31, 2010
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
2 19 8
  • Release date: September 18, 2012
  • Label: Axster/Bingham
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
7 36 16 8
Fear and Saturday Night
  • Release date: January 20, 2015
  • Label: Axster/Bingham
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
47 9 7
Ryan Bingham Live
  • Release date: October 21, 2016
  • Label: Axster Bingham
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
American Love Song
  • Release date: February 15, 2019[60]
  • Label: Axster Bingham
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download, streaming
12 124 4 18 4
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays

Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
iTunes Live: SXSW
  • Release date: March 18, 2011
  • Label: Lost Highway Records
  • Formats: CD, music download


Year Title Peak positions Album
US Country Digital
US Bubbling
2010 "The Weary Kind" 11 16 Crazy Heart (soundtrack)
"Depression" Junky Star
2012 "The Wandering"
2013 "Until I'm One with You"[38] N/A
2014 "Broken Heart Tattoos"[63] Fear and Saturday Night
2015 "Hands of Time"[65]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video Director
2007 "Southside of Heaven" Anna Axster
2008 "Bread and Water"
2009 "Country Roads"
2010 "The Weary Kind" Danny Clinch
2012 "Heart of Rhythm" Anna Axster
2012 "Guess Who's Knocking" Anna Axster
2015 "Radio" Anna Axster


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Crazy Heart Tony Academy Award for Best Original Song
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song
Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Song
World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film
2015 Your Right Mind Cowboy's Brother
2017 Hostiles Sergeant Malloy
2018–2020 Yellowstone Walker


  1. ^ "iTunes album review". September 18, 2012.
  2. ^ Greg M. Schwartz (October 23, 2012). " review".
  3. ^ Gold, Scott. "Raw and Genuine". LA Times. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ Hajek, Daniel. "From Rodeo To Radio: Ryan Bingham's Wild Ride". NPR. NPR. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  5. ^ LanHam, Tom (March 2019). "Ryan Bingham is happier out of Hollywood spotlight". SFExaminer. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  6. ^ Isaac, Nico. "Ryan Bingham: Tomorrowland". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Hal. "Ryan Bingham: Fear and Saturday Night". American Songwriter. American Songwriter. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  8. ^ Skinner, Jared. "Ryan Bingham: Ryan Bingham Live". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  9. ^ Beaugez, Jim (February 12, 2019). "How Ryan Bingham's Album 'American Love Song' Addresses Border Politics". RollingStone Magazine. RollingStone Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  10. ^ Schlanger, Talia (June 3, 2019). "Ryan Bingham's Rugged And Raw 'American Love Song'". NPR. NPR. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  11. ^ Essmaker, Tina (January 15, 2013). "Ryan Bingham MUSICIAN SONGWRITER". The Great Discontent. The Great Discontent. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  12. ^ Deusner, Stephen (June 4, 2009). "Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses: Roadhouse Sun". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  13. ^ 2010 ACL Festival: Ryan Bingham Official Bio Archived April 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Kennedy, Gerrick (13 February 2011). "Grammy Awards: Ryan Bingham nabs a trophy, still puts on pants 'one leg at a time'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  15. ^ Talbott, Chris (9 September 2010). "Ryan Bingham Wins Big at Americana Awards". USA Today. Retrieved 5 July 2011.[dead link]
  16. ^ Newman, Melinda (November 29, 2018). "Ryan Bingham on His Haunting New Song 'Wolves' and Launching His Own Music Festival: Exclusive". Billboard. Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Yellowstone - S1E7 Soundtrack A Monster Is Among Us". What-Song. What-Song. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Yellowstone - Season 1 - TV Series | Paramount Network". Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  19. ^ Rascoe, Rachel (April 19, 2019). "Faster Than Sound: Ryan Bingham Warms Up His Western Festival". Austin Chronicle. Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Ryan Bingham Interviewed by 3DotMag". YouTube.
  21. ^ "Ryan Bingham Conquers Fear and Loathing to Rock the American Dream". 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  22. ^ "#100 - The 100th Episode Celebration w/ Ryan F***ing Bingham! from wellRED podcast".
  23. ^ "Ryan Bingham's website, quoting the magazine article". 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  24. ^ McCartney, Kelly. "Pop Matters website interview with Ryan Bingham". Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  25. ^ "Artists: Artists A to Z: Ryan Bingham Biography: Great American Country". 2014-06-27. Archived from the original on 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  26. ^ "Oscar nominations announced". 2010. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  27. ^ "Jeff Bridges, Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett Win Oscars for Crazy Heart". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  28. ^ "Ryan Bingham". 22 May 2018.
  29. ^ "ARTISTRY WINS DURING 9th ANNUAL AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION HONORS & AWARDS, Ryan also played at the ACL festival in 2011". 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  30. ^ "Billboard - Music Charts, News, Photos & Video".
  31. ^ "Billboard - Music Charts, News, Photos & Video".
  32. ^ a b "Ryan Bingham: Tomorrowland". September 17, 2012.
  33. ^ "Premiere: Ryan Bingham, "Heart of Rhythm" (Lyric Video)". July 30, 2012.
  34. ^ "Song Premiere: Ryan Bingham, 'Guess Who's Knocking'". Rolling Stone. September 6, 2012.
  35. ^ "Video Premiere: Ryan Bingham - "Guess Who's Knocking"". October 4, 2012.
  36. ^ "Joe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Jeff McIlwain & David Wingo". 8 April 2014.
  37. ^ "Joe".
  38. ^ a b Phil Gallo, "Ryan Bingham Pens Theme For FX's 'Bridge'; First Screen Track Since Oscar Win",, 06/25/13
  39. ^ "A Country Called Home - Single by Ryan Bingham". 6 May 2016.
  40. ^ [1]
  41. ^ "Watch Ryan Bingham's Intense Live 'Radio' Video". Rolling Stone. September 30, 2016.
  42. ^ "Song Premiere: Ryan Bingham crowd favorite 'Sunrise' off new live album". October 18, 2016.
  43. ^ "Press Play: New Music". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  44. ^ "Yellowstone - Season 2 - TV Series | Paramount Network". Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  45. ^ "Yellowstone - Season 3 - TV Series | Paramount Network". Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  46. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "BBC - Music - Review of Ryan Bingham - Mescalito". Archived from the original on July 23, 2012.
  47. ^ "Mescalito : Ryan Bingham : Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  48. ^ [2]
  49. ^ Gold, Scott (2008-03-30). "Raw and Genuine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  50. ^ Smyers, Darryl (2010-10-07). "Q&A: Ryan Bingham Talks Growing Up in Texas, Sharing His Name with George Clooney and Coming to Grips With Winning an Oscar | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2014-07-27.
  51. ^ from an interview on Americana Music Show, No. 238, published March 24, 2015
  52. ^ "Ryan Bingham Interviewed by 3DotMag". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  53. ^ Newman, Melinda (2015-01-20). "'Fear and Saturday Night': How Ryan Bingham Defeated Darkness on Surprising New LP". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  54. ^ a b "Ryan Bingham Album & Song Chart History - Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  55. ^ "Ryan Bingham Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  56. ^ "Ryan Bingham Chart History - Folk Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  57. ^ "Ryan Bingham Chart History - Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  58. ^ "Ryan Bingham Chart History - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  59. ^ "Ryan Bingham Chart History - Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  60. ^ "American Love Song by Ryan Bingham on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  61. ^ "Ryan Bingham Album & Song Chart History - Country Digital Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  62. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  63. ^ "Ryan Bingham Announces 'Fear and Saturday Night,' Shares New Song 'Broken Heart Tattoos' (Exclusive)". October 23, 2014.
  64. ^ "Ryan Bingham - Radio (Radio Edit)". December 2, 2014.
  65. ^ "Ryan Bingham - Hands Of Time". March 31, 2015.

External links

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