Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham knows how to keep busy. The New Mexico native released a new album, is going on tour, helped create The Western music festival in Texas and even has a role on the hit show “Yellowstone” alongside Kevin Costner. Metro caught up with the singer before he hits the road with his exciting tour, and he gave us the scoop on his career, his inspirations and what to expect at his show in NYC on April 23 at Brooklyn Steel.
You’ve written songs for TV, shows, movies, and for your own album- where do you gather your inspiration from? Is it different for you when you’re writing for yourself and when you’re writing for TV or movies?
Yeah, I think for film and TV stuff or for anything that already has a narrative or a story to go with it, I’m basically kind of following along with that or trying to put myself into the shoes of the characters and write towards that. Whenever I’m writing an album for myself, it’s always kind of starting from scratch and it’s always a bit autobiographical and personal- things that I’ve gone through growing up and how the world has influenced me in different ways. I just try to draw off of all of those inspirations as well as other inspirations I’ve had while growing up.
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You’re about to go on tour, what do you like most about being on the road?
I’ve always kind of had a bit of an adventurous personality and when I was younger I was very much looking forward to getting out and seeing the world and traveling. Now that I’ve been on the road for a bit and kind of re-visiting some of these towns it gets to be more about sharing that personal experience with an audience and seeing kind of how they connect to these stories and the songs and how we all kind of have that human experience together. It always is kind of humbling and it’s a magical thing.
Say there’s someone who has never been to one of your shows but is thinking about going- what would you tell them to expect at a concert of yours?
You know, I really just tour around the country with a rock and roll band. I’ve got a lively band and it’s upbeat, we try to have as much fun as we possibly can. Some of the songs that I write are folk songs that have a rock and roll vibe behind them, so there are parts of the show where we will play acoustic and play some ballads and things like that. But for the most part, it’s a little more high energy and it’s a kind of rock and blues show- that’s kind of the gist of it.
I wanted to ask you about the music festival, The Western that you started down near Austin- why did you decide to have the festival there?
When I first started playing music I lived down around Austin, Texas and it’s just a big melting pot culturally and musically. There’s a lot of different things going on there and when I really got into music and writing songs it was in that spot. That town of Austin and the surrounding areas were very supportive of songwriters and storytellers and the place Luckenbach, where we had the festival, is a little town right outside of Austin. It’s a place where songwriters would go and sit around a campfire at night and people would just play songs and share stories- that’s really where it all began for me. I think touring now with the band, schedules are always really hectic and there’s not a lot of opportunities to do that anymore- just sit around with friends and kind of share songs and stories. So I really wanted the festival to kind of be based on the roots of that and be a fun and organic experience. Also, I just wanted it to be a really fun place to hang out, a lot of times festivals these days are a big tent in a parking lot and there’s not a whole lot of vibe going on, so it’s a great spot to hang all day with friends.
Just jumping briefly to your acting career as well, how has it been working with Kevin Costner and the rest of the cast on “Yellowstone”?
Amazing. This is the first TV show I’ve ever had a part in so I would say I’ve been kind of spoiled with my experience just because the whole cast and crew are really great to work with. There are also lots of the writing and script changes so you never know what’s going to happen next. Overall it’s been a cool experience.
You obviously keep busy- what’s next for you after your are done touring?
When I was writing songs for this record I ended up with a lot more than I had originally planned on, so I think I’m going to take some of these songs I have left over and keep writing some new ones and probably put another album out. Kind of one thing at a time for me right now.