Ryan Bingham has spent most of his life on the road, first on the rough-and-tumble rodeo circuit, then moving from town to town on the equally volatile roadhouse musical circuit. Those travels have given him plenty of material to draw from - and plenty of reason to stop for a moment to dig in his heels and take a stand.
That's exactly what the Texas-bred troubadour does on his second Lost Highway album, Road House Sun, a hardscrabble collection that's at once unblinkingly personal and unapologetically political - the latter a new and bracingly vivid addition to Bingham's palette.
Produced, like its predecessor, by one-time Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford, Road House Sun manages to capture a feel that's rootsy without being retro. That has a lot to do with the singer's preternaturally wizened voice - which Bingham laughingly attributes to "Too many nights in the whiskey house" - not to mention Ford's approach behind the board," which Bingham describes as "really old school. Those guitar tones and basslines, Marc knew how to get those down. He wanted to do it the way they used to do it."