Archive for the Ryan Bingham Category

2010 Americana Music Award Nominees: Song of the Year, and the Rest

Posted in Americana Music Awards 2010, Dave Rawlings Machine, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ryan Bingham, The Avett Brothers on September 9, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

If you’ve been reading lately, then you know that the Americana Music Honors and Awards Show is taking place tonight at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, TN. I’ve covered the nominees in a few of the major awards so far. This post is just to wrap up every other category and give you an overview of the rest of the awards.

The award show will be broadcast live on Sirius/XM Radio’s Outlaw Country Channel and webcast live by NPR Music and Folk Alley beginning at 6:30 Central Time.

We’ll start with Song of the Year.

The nominated songs are “Drunken Poet’s Dream” by Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Ruby” by The Dave Rawlings Machine, “I and Love and You” by The Avett Brothers, and “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham. I’m not going to go into detail about each nominee here since I’ve mentioned each artist in other posts already, but I do have a few general comments to go along with my prediction.

First of all, this is Bingham’s category to lose… just like every other award he’s nominated for. No song in recent memory has made as much noise outside of the Americana realm as “The Weary Kind.” That’s why he’ll win Artist and New/Emerging Artist as well… Golden Globes and Oscars bring a different level of recognition that this genre has been searching for some time now.

“Ruby” is a pleasant enough song, but not my favorite from that album by a far shot. “I and Love and You” does a good job of showcasing the Avett’s expanded melancholy, but I still prefer the rowdy version of that band. The song that intrigues me the most in this set is “Drunken Poet’s Dream” by Ray Wylie Hubbard.

This is the same song that appeared on Hayes Carll’s 2008 CD Trouble in Mind… except that it isn’t. Carll and Hubbard both have co-write credits for the song on each album, but Hubbard’s version is drastically different from Carll’s original. Aside from changing the song from a somewhat sunny piece into a fuzzy electric dirge, Hubbard added verses, left out others, re-arranged a few others, and omitted the bridge. He even changed the lyrics to the chorus. In the end, almost the only thing the two songs share is a title. Still, I’m not sure which one I like better… both hold up well.

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Drunken Poet’s Dream (Buy Album)
Dave Rawlings Machine: Ruby (Buy Album)
Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (Buy Album)
Ryan Bingham: Weary Kind (Buy Album)

My Prediction: Ryan Bingham
My Vote (If I had one): Ryan Bingham
The other two major categories are Artist of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year.

Once again… we’ve already covered most of the nominees for Artist of the Year. Ryan Bingham, Patty Griffin, and Ray Wylie Hubbard are nominees in other categories. Only Steve Earle and Levon Helm are singularly nominated. For his part, Helm was the winner of the first ever Grammy for Best Americana Album. Earle, meanwhile, won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Both artists also continue to tour and serve as ambassadors for the genre. Still… they can’t trump Bingham.
My Prediction: Bingham
My Vote (If I had one): Bingham
The Instrumentalist of the Year category is loaded with perennial nominees like Buddy Miller, Will Kimbrough, and Sam Bush along with this year’s most nominated artist Dave Rawlings. It’s hard to imagine a year without Buddy Miller winning an award, but he’s done more producing than playing lately. This may be the year he’s shut out.
I don’t really have a prediction or vote here. This is the one category that stumps me every year.

2010 Americana Music Award Nominees: Best New/Emerging Artist

Posted in Americana Music Awards 2010, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Joe Pug, Ryan Bingham, Sarah Jarosz on September 3, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Today, we take a look the nominees for what I consider to be the most confusing category… Best New/Emerging Artist. Last year’s award was won by Justin Townes Earle in his second year of being nominated (New Artist nominee two years in a row?). One of this year’s nominees actually won Best Song last year, a year in which he was NOT nominated for New/Emerging Artist.

Even though the nominating criteria seems to be a bit nebulous, the assembled nominees are all worthy of some sort of recognition.

Sarah Jarosz burst onto the scene last year as an 18-year-old acoustic wunderkind with her debut album Song Up In Her Head. At the time of it’s release, Jarosz had just graduated from high school. Still… artists such as Chris Thile, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Jerry Douglas, and others thought enough of her to appear in guest roles on the album. Most of the songs are Jarosz originals that merge traditional styles with a modern sensibility. Well chosen covers of Tom Waits (“Come On Up to the House”) and The Decemberists (“Shankhill Butchers”) show the diversity of influences that go into making a child prodigy.

Sarah Jarosz: Come On Up to the House (Buy Album)

To say Ryan Bingham emerged in the past year is a bit of an understatement. In 2009, Bingham released his second studio album Roadhouse Sun. It was another fine mix of rustic Texas roots rock from the former rodeo rider and was well received in Americana Circles. Bingham really busted out this year, however, due to his work on the soundtrack for the movie Crazy Heart. His song, “The Weary Kind,” earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. He may now have the highest profile of any Americana artist in recent history. Now, in addition to this nomination, he’s nominated for Song of the Year and Artist of the Year at the AMA’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if he swept all three. This track is from Roadhouse Sun.

Ryan Bingham: Dylan’s Hard Rain (Buy Album)

This one is the real puzzler. Not because Hayes Carll isn’t a great artist. He is. It’s more because Carll is hardly what I would consider a New or Emerging artist. He released his third album in 2008, has had two albums reach #1 on the Americana Airplay Chart, and won Song of the Year at last year’s AMA’s for “She Left Me For Jesus.” Carll is another in a long line of Texas storytellers and is one of my favorite artists working today. I just don’t see how he can be a nominee in this category this year. Hayes Carll emerged a long time ago.

Hayes Carll: Girl Downtown (Buy Album)

I’m not a songwriter. I can’t attest to this myself. But I imagine Joe Pug to be the kind of songwriter that makes other songwriters (even the really good ones) jealous. Pug’s full length debut, Messenger, is one of those albums that really jumped out and grabbed me by the throat this past year. In my concert review of Pug’s performance at the Bijou Theatre in May, I compared him to an early Bob Dylan… an artist whose lyrics are so strong, he doesn’t need to rely on musical wizardry to draw the ear. His understated production and idiosyncratic voice really help Joe Pug stand out.

Joe Pug: Messenger (Buy Album)

Of the five nominees in this category, Corb Lund has probably been at this the longest. Lund was playing in punk bands in his native Alberta, Canada in the late 1980’s before Sarah Jarosz was even born. His 2009 album Losin’ Lately Gambler is his sixth solo recording and his first with U.S. based New West Records. With it, the five-time winner of the Canadian Country Music Association’s Roots Artist of the Year Award (He’s also a Juno Award Winner) is starting to make some noise here in the states. It’s about time we paid attention.

There isn’t much need for analysis here. Bingham is the likely run-away winner. Nobody… new artist or not… has had a higher profile than him in the past year. It’s not even close. If I was just picking a favorite, it would be Joe Pug. He’s probably a long shot at best.
My prediction: Ryan Bingham
My vote (If I had one): Joe Pug

Americana Music Awards: Best New/Emerging Artist

Posted in Americana Music Awards, Justin Townes Earle, Mike Farris, Ryan Bingham, The Steeldrivers on August 15, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Above, you’ll find a picture of The Avett Brothers. The Avett’s were the winners of the Best New/Emerging Artist Award at the 2007 Americana Honors and Awards Show. They joined past winners Mindy Smith (2004), Mary Gauthier (2005), and The Greencards (2006) as winners of the award. 2004 was the first year for the award, as it was created after Kathleen Edwards’ stellar 2003 debut Failer was swept in all categories it was nominated for by Johnny Cash and “Hurt.”

This is one of my favorite awards because it highlights the future of the Americana genre. These are artists who are brand new to the scene or, in some cases, artists who have been struggling for years and are finally garnering some support on a large scale. This year features another solid group of performers.

And the nominees are…

Justin Townes Earle
Mike Farris
Ryan Bingham
The Steeldrivers

Justin Townes Earle is the son of Steve Earle, and is named for Townes Van Zandt. That’s not too much to live up to is it? Justin understandably developed a love for music and was playing in a couple of bands in Nashville by the time he was a teenager. He also spent some time playing in his father’s touring band, The Dukes, but was kicked out of the group due to his growing dependence on alcohol and drugs. Justin’s fifth overdose landed him in the hospital for several days and came at the tender age of 21. He decided it was time to clean up his act. Clean and sober, Justin self-released the EP Yuma in 2007. His debut album The Good Life followed in 2008.

Justin Townes Earle: Hard Livin’ (Buy Album)

The story of Mike Farris is similar to that of Justin Townes Earle. Like JT Earle, Farris had a promising career sidetracked by his addictions and has now put his life back together and found salvation in his music. Farris fronted the blues-based jam band Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies in the 1990’s and also spent time as the singer for Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s old rhythm section. Farris’ demons kept holding him back, however, until he attended a friend’s funeral in 2004. There Farris decided it was time to turn a new page before he ended up in a coffin himself. His 2007 album, Salvation in Lights, is proof of his salvation, and a fine offering of rocking gospel blues.

Mike Farris: Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down (Buy Album)

Ryan Bingham follows in the footsteps of all the other great Texas songwriters who have come before him. Bingham was born and raised in rural Texas where he worked for years as a ranch hand and rode on the competitive rodeo circuit. At age 17, he learned to play guitar from a neighbor who worked as a mariachi musician. He eventually started writing his own songs and began entertaining friends after rodeo shows. The songs on Binghams’s debut are often described as “road-weary,” and the 25-year-old songwriter comes by that label honestly. He’s certainly lived his share of “Hard Times.”

Ryan Bingham: Southside of Heaven (Buy Album)

Of course, The Steeldrivers, are my favorite in this category. I’ve mentioned them previously here and here, but I’m always happy to mention them again. Even if I hadn’t graduated from high school with lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, Chris Stapleton, I’m sure The Steeldrivers’ rough-edged bluegrass songs about hardened characters behind jailhouse walls would have still caught my ears. On the whole, The Steeldrivers are a tight band featuring songwriter Mike Henderson on mandolin, Tammy Rogers on fiddle and vocals, Richard Baily on banjo, and Mike Fleming on bass. All members of the group are Nashville session and songwriting veterans who are getting the chance to shine on their own here.

The Steeldrivers: Blue Side of the Mountain (Buy Album)

I’ve already said who I’m pulling for in this category, but listen to the tunes and decide for yourself. Leave comments below or vote in the poll to the right.

Update: It looks like Tift Merritt’s “Broken” was the winner in your voting for song of the year. Voting was pretty close with Hayes Carll’s “She Left Me for Jesus” leading most of the way. At the eleventh hour, however, Tift Merritt’s fan website found the poll and put her over the top.