BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Ryan Bingham: Mescalito (Lost Highway)

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Ryan Bingham: Sunrise
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Ryan Bingham: Mescalito (Lost Highway)

We live and we learn -- and I have been living and relearning by repeat plays of this exceptional debut by someone called Ryan Bingham of whom I know nothing. And in a way, I'm grateful he has lived whatever he has in my place.

The hard lessons he seems to have learned, I'm happy to just hear from this distance. I hear dark alt.country, brittle back-country, outsider art, folk-framed Springsteen livin' in a brokedown houseboat on the bayou, Hank Williams shaking hands with Bob Seger . . .

And, somewhat improbably, Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride.

Pretty much everything I have ever liked in a dark world where cocaine, Jesse James and novocaine hitch a ride in pick-up truck driven by Tex-Mex desperados across the borderland into some imagined America.

Yes, this is an album of guttural emotions which exists beyond our darkest thoughts but is somewhere in those Tex-Mex novels you might have read.

No album for old men, if you get my drift.

Extraordinary.

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Ian - Dec 19, 2008

This is easily my album of the year.

If you love Steve Earle, Joe Ely and Townes Van Zandt. If you daydream of sitting in Austin drinking frozen Margaritas, eating BBQ Brisket and Elgin sausage. If you like to wear your shirts with snaps and wished you'd bought those boots at Allens on South Congress. Then... why haven't you got this album!

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