Album: Ryan Bingham

Mescalito (Lost Highway)
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In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, and in the first week of January even a half-decent record can get that little stick person up there's attention. So even though the name might have you imagining an American Idol-style country singer, Ryan Bingham is, in reality, a gravelly-voiced Texan who has more in common with the "country outlaws" of Willie, Waylon, Johnny et al. Aided and abetted on his debut by the Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford, Bingham comes on like a heartbroken and broken act twice his 25 years as he croaks his way through tales of hard times and hard living.

Download this: 'Bread and Water' is an authentic slice of country-blues