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Junky Star

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iTunes Review

Listening to the hard-luck narratives on Junky Star, you’d never know that Ryan Bingham had recently won an Academy Award for his song “The Weary Kind” (featured in the 2009 film Crazy Heart). This latter-day Dust Bowl troubadour carries himself with the same ragged integrity that made his earlier albums so striking. Producer T Bone Burnett keeps the album’s sound unvarnished, allowing the sinewy folk-rock of Bingham and his group to speak with stark eloquence. Eruptions of sudden violence mingle with glimpses of quiet grace in these songs. Bingham’s bone-dry, gravel-pitted vocals give these bleak yet magical tunes a palpable moral weight and emotional resonance. The title track, “All Choked Up Again” and especially “Hallelujah” (a beyond-the-grave testimony of a murdered man) are dark, compelling visions sung with deceptive restraint. The anthemic “Depression” and the rollicking “Direction of the Wind” offer defiance amidst desolation, while “The Poet” and “Yesterday’s Blues” find beauty in America’s lonesome spaces. Junky Star shines.

Customer Reviews

A good change of pace

This album doesn't have the upbeat footstompers of Mescalito or Roadhouse Sun, but what it does have is a handful of great songs. This collection has a lot of depth and emotion. Well produced, great sound, fully recommended.

RB and the Dead Horses

It's Ryan Bingham his band the Dead Horses. That's reason enough to buy this album. I have heard Depression from his website, and I am writing this as it downloads. I already know its good.... Why? The title of this review says it all.....

Time for a roadtrip

Laying here listening to Junky Star for the first time through and it has me ready to hop in my truck and point it west and drive all night to see where the morning will find. Ryan has a weary ache to his voice that I love and his band gives his songs the space they need to really spread out and support that voice. Fantastic stuff. Buy the album and if you haven't already, pick up his previous two.


Born: March 31, 1981 in Hobbs, NM

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Americana singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham was raised in rural Texas, where years of hardscrabble ranch work and rodeo competitions would later lend a sense of authenticity to his music. Living alone since his mid-teens, Bingham shuttled back and forth between Southwestern border towns and relatives' homes, often sleeping in his truck after rodeo shows. It was during those treks that he began entertaining friends with the guitar, an instrument he'd learned at the age of 17 from a mariachi neighbor....
Full Bio