Ryan Bingham

Tomorrowland, the title of Ryan Bingham's new album, sounds futuristic, but the Oscarwinning singer/songwriter hints, "Maybe it's not so much about looking ahead as it is about leaving things behind."
"There are no more rules," he continues. Recording Tomorrowland for his own Axster Bingham Records felt "totally liberating," he says, and allowed him the freedom to "do whatever we want and not have someone else's agenda on it."

Tomorrowland contains plenty of the pliant acoustic guitar work that has marked Bingham's previous studio sets, but Tomorrowland expands his musical landscape exponentially: Guitars howl into keyboards and drums stomp against strings, all
bolstered by Bingham's jagged, weather-beaten vocals.

Despite his assertion that "I always try to be hopeful," Bingham's songs remain full of dark, often mysterious, places where light struggles to get in. On the bracing, haunting "No Help From God," he sings in a world-weary rasp, "Some say that angels are all
looking down/I only saw vultures circling around." Bingham recorded Tomorrowland at a makeshift studio in a friend's empty house in Malibu, Calif. that turned out to have an interesting heritage: it once belonged to Kris Kristofferson, one of his musical heroes. "I thought, who knows what you're going to find in these walls'," Bingham laughs.
Bingham and co-producer Justin Stanley (Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow) brought in a soundboard and microphones and set up the drums right in the middle of the highceiling room. They recruited in a small core of musicians to play on the album as needed.
"That's what was so nice about the record: we weren't on a time line or in crunch time," Bingham says. " I really tried to distance myself from any of that. I was like 'I'm in a house, I'm not spending a lot of money. I can take all the time I need and really get it
right.'" And Bingham is the first to admit that after the rush of the last few years, he needed to slow the pace.

The Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy wins for his song "The Weary Kind" from 2009's movie "Crazy Heart" caused a wonderful commotion that was at times humbling and overwhelming to Bingham, who was named the Americana Music Association's
2010 artist of the year.Without taking a breather, Bingham recorded 2010's critically acclaimed "Junky Star," and returned to the road, caught up in an endless swirl of touring. What the public didn't
see was a man thrown into a whirlwind, caught up in the chaos not only from the awards hoopla, but, much more cataclysmically, by his parents dying within a couple of years of each other. "It was too much, I felt like a zombie," he says.

Determined to keep his commitments, Bingham continued gigging, but when he came back to Los Angeles in 2011, he stopped moving for a bit, settled into his new life with his wife, and learned how to live in one spot. For the first time, Bingham had a true place to call his own. One of the many upsides was he got to explore the electric guitar.

"I was always staying with friends. I never had a space where I could set up an amp with pedals. It wasn't until the last couple of years where I got a house of my own and time off where I could set up and start playing Jimi Hendrix stuff and Jimmy Page," he
says. "Just rocking it. My inner 16-year old kid was coming out."
His inner teen makes itself loud and clear on much of the album—he plays all the guitars on the album and had his collection of more than 20 at the ready — but especially on the first single, "Heart Of Rhythm." The passionate rave-up, the first one
he wrote for the album, is all paint-peeling rock and roll from the perspective of a true believer.

"When I was writing it, I was thinking I'm going to write a whole punk rock album: The Clash, Iggy Pop, just getting it on," he says. Though Bingham broadened the album's landscape, many of punk's ideals: abandoning oneself to the music, defiance of
convention, and going full throttle remain intact throughout Tomorrowland's 13 tracks.

By turns deeply confessional ("Never Far Behind"), and by others unflinchingly observant about society's underbelly (the epic "Rising of the Ghetto"), Tomorrowland features Bingham's fearless honesty throughout. "It helps to say it and get it out that way," he says. "That's what writing songs has always been about for me, it's never been about anything else. That's always been my thing."
While crafting the tunes in the studio, Bingham considered how they would sound on the road, more so than on his previous releases. "Before I didn't have the perspective of what it was going to be like live. I'm going to be on the road the next two years playing
these songs every night and I want to have fun with them, so that was a focus."

Bingham's tour starts Sept. 25 in San Francisco. Bingham began writing songs when he was 17 to get away from his troubled Texan
home life. The escape transformed from emotional to literal as soon as he figured out a way to sustain himself. "I had gigs where I could make $50 a night. I could just get in the car and get away and I could support myself," he says. "I didn't have to work for
somebody. I could get all that shit off my chest through my songs. They were my therapy, my means of survival, my livelihood in every way." And now, with more experience and a mantel full of awards, the 31-year old Bingham finds himself, in many ways, back at the beginning. "Doing this label and the new music on our own had led me back to writing songs that sustain me. It's a whole new
adventure for me. Whatever that means."

The Wild Feathers

Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston
Wimberly, grew up steeped in music; playing solo gigs, touring with local bands and working at venues. The four guys came together in Austin in 2010 through coincidence, mutual friends, and a shared love of the classics: Petty, Dylan, Cash, The Band, Allman Bros, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. They immediately began playing together
and became The Wild Feathers. The young band spent the next year writing and defining their sound and touring around the country, sharing the stage with Delta Spirit, Surfer Blood and The Heavy, even landing an opening spot on Paul Simon's 2011 fall tour.

The Wild Feathers are a truly American band: their music takes elements of the best of rock, country, folk and blues music and reshapes it in a way that is both unique and modern

Pullman Strike

THIS started with this reply on 4/8/2010 to an ad on Craigslist from a guy with a big basement, some drums, and a hope of not annoying his soon-to-be wife with a strangers coming over to their new home to play God knows what kind of music:

“Would like to talk about what y'all are looking for in a drummer-

Saw that you're into Lucero, and i'm into a good bit of the alt-country stuff as well, but really got into lucero, as they cover a song by one of my favorite band (Jawbreaker), and this is how i got into them in the first place-

So let me know y'alls thoughts, and it might be fun to get together and play sometime...I have a house with a big enough place to practice...

Give me a shout,

~Daniel.”

More emails were exchanged, and on 4/14/2010 Josh Robbins, Neil Mauney, Dan Smith, Evan Stepp, and Wes Hamilton showed up at Daniel Beckham’s house with their guitars, a lap steel, some beer and a good sense of humor, (not to mention a certain amount of skepticism about what may actually transpire in this stranger’s basement).

Everyone plugged in, played a few tunes that Josh, Dan, Evan and Wes had been working on in the previous months, and things just clicked. There was a certain sound in those early songs like “Charlton Heston”, “Honest Heart”, and “Do It Right” that was blending rock and country with the DIY and independent ethos of the indie and punk rockers the 80’s and 90’s that really excited everyone involved. They got amped up, shows were booked, and the ride began for Pullman Strike.

A few shows were booked, an EP demo was recorded, a bunch more shows were played. After that, a pedal steel guitar was purchased, an LP was recorded (“People We Know” recorded and engineered by the great Bo White), and Pullman Strike kept on writing new songs, playing them, practicing them some more, and refining their style. “Alt-Country” has been the de facto common theme, but with most saying there is much more to Pullman Strike than dropping them in the deep and wide bucket of alternative country.

Things have progressed nicely, and people have heard echoes of the Replacements, John Anderson, the Lemonheads, (and even Ramones?) in their live sets. Pullman Strike is evolving, and refining their streamlined lineup as a 5 piece. They’ve played pretty much ever room in Charlotte and have been regulars on the festival circuit at Treasure Fest, Between 2 Rivers Festival, and Recess Fest, and have received very kind words from Shutter16, Creative Loafing, Charlotte Observer, and Charlotte Viewpoint Magazine:
"The band’s strongest qualities — galloping Northeastern punk energy and plaintive storytelling — balance against each other nicely, resulting in an engaging, down-to-earth crossover approach." Corbie Hill, Creative Loafing

",,, it feels reductive to call Pullman Strike just an alt-country band. The sextet’s work today shows a steadily developing ensemble still finding ways to cultivate the middle ground between indie rock crunch and country creak" Bryan Reed, Charlotte Viewpoint

"This Charlotte band is heavily anchored in rootsy country - thanks to pedal steel and a helping of twang - like Drive-By Truckers it’s a Southern rock band at heart that sometimes hits on the driving force of early Pretenders" Courtney Devores, Charlotte Observer

"Whether you enjoy country music intermixed with rock or not, the Charlotte music scene seems to have a soft spot for Pullman Strike" Kristen Leake, Shutter 16

"All the swing and twang of a respectable country record. Yet, it still has roots in the sweat-and-PBR of punk and hardcore" Corbie Hill, Creative Loafing

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Ryan Bingham with The Wild Feathers, Pullman Strike

Thursday, May 9 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Tremont Music Hall