Monday, March 8, 2010
Ryan Bingham Strikes Gold at Oscars, Earns Coveted Beer of the Week from Urban Cowboy
Last night, while tuning into the Oscars, I had the pleasure of hearing, for the first time, “The Weary Kind,” an original song written by Ryan Bingham for the movie Crazy Heart. What a pleasant surprise. After listening to so many country songs, one develops an ear for that unique sound that sets a song apart from its peers, and “The Weary Kind” is just that – a rough and raw cut that would do the fathers of country music proud.
Ryan Bingham’s gravely, untrained sound fits the song perfectly. An embodiment of the country-image (Bingham is a bull-rider turned country/folk singer), Bingham succeeds where so many of today’s artists fall short. “The Weary Kind” is by no means a vocal masterpiece – Bingham’s voice, as I’ve already mentioned, is far from opera worthy, and it does suffer from one major production flaw. In the studio version (not the one I've pasted below), the producers added a drum beat during the second verse. I understand the decision here -- that the low rumble of the drumbeat would further emphasize the somber, powerful tone of the song -- but, to be quite frank, it's simply unnecessary. This is a clear example of overproduction, an instance where allowing the song to progress with just the guitar and the artist's voice would have been much more powerful. Anyway, “The Weary Kind” stands apart from other popular country songs in the emotional sincerity infused into every single lyric. I’d challenge anyone to give this song a few listens and try to ignore the pain in Bingham’s voice as he laments that “somehow this don’t feel like home anymore.” I doubt that the song would receive much airplay from country radio if it weren’t featured in a major, award –winning motion picture. It’s about as different from mainstream country as a song can get. But I’d be willing to wager that the guys who pioneered the outlaw country movement in the 60’s and 70’s -- guys like Haggard, Kristofferson and Waylon – would find this to be about as good as a country song gets. As Kristofferson said “If it sounds country man, that’s what it is, a country song” – and this song couldn’t sound more country. It’s real and it’s raw and that’s what sets Bingham and “The Weary Kind” apart, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if an academy award is not the only honor this song earns in the days to come.
So Ryan Bingham, I know it’s a few days late, but nonetheless, this beer is for you.