Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham has compiled a large library of memorable music during his career. His songs have touched on topics such as lies from politicians and whether the American Dream is truly for everyone. He also created an extremely popular theme song to the Jeff Bridges film Crazy Heart.
Speaking with PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview, Bingham discussed getting involved with Crazy Heart and the process behind writing the award-winning "The Weary Kind." The singer explained that he didn't simply head to the studio and work with a group of musicians in order to create the lyrics and chords. Instead, he came up with the structure of the song in a very unique location.
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"That song came about just through the film," Bingham told PopCulture. "I met the director, Scott Cooper, when all of that came together and he sent me the script. I just wrote that song from reading the script before they filmed it. I can't remember exactly where I was. I was in the middle of nowhere in the backseat of the van with my guitar, and I just kind of started that chord progression and wrote that song. [I] got back home, sent it to Scott, and that was it. The rest is history."
When "The Weary Kind" surfaced, it immediately drew praise from critics and fans alike. The song won several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Grammy and a Golden Globe. And while Bingham wrote and recorded the song roughly a decade ago, it has not decreased in popularity. He says that fans still ask to hear "The Weary Kind" when he is at the Big Sky Festival or out on tour.
Of course, Bingham has been very busy since he wowed fans with "The Weary Kind." He released multiple full-length albums and one live album. This also includes 2019's "American Love Song," which Bingham says helped him sell out several shows. Physical editions of the album cracked the Billboard Top 200 while the digital version peaked at No. 13. Now he is switching gears and looking forward to his next release — although he won't forget the positive reactions and how the album impacted his career.
"Most of all of the last year and the year before I was writing "[American] Love Song," and now it's kind of time to regroup, write some new songs, a new one," Bingham said. "The reception was pretty good with the last record. I had some of the best shows I've ever had, and the fans are absolutely wonderful. I think pretty much all of the shows were sold out on that tour. It was definitely a next step for me as far as... I feel like in my career and the types of shows that we are playing. So yeah, it was fairly positive. We really had a lot of fun with that record on the road."
While he works on his next full-length release, Bingham continues to entertain fans with his ongoing Cantina Sessions, where he performs songs on Instagram in order to provide entertainment for others at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also working on a follow-up to the popular "Midnight Hour" video series that he did with Yeti.
Bingham and the outdoor company partnered to present a three-part interview series. He sat down with fellow artists Jack Johnson, Margo Price and Terry Allen to discuss writing music and the inspiration behind their songs. The coronavirus has disrupted Bingham's schedule, but he is currently in talks with Yeti to create even more content for the future. And if "Midnight Hour" returns, Bingham already has a dream guest picked out.
"Dolly Parton is very high at the top of that list for me," Bingham said. "She is someone that I just find very fascinating as a human being and just one of the greatest songwriters around. So I think that would be... She's someone I'd very much be interested in and working with and talking to for sure."