Ryan Bingham: Sold Out From KC
Ryan Bingham came to the beautiful, sold out, Madrid Theater in Kansas City on April 9th, 2019 as part of his current tour, in support of his new album, American Love Song. This show was the first time that Bingham had been back to KC since 2016. Having never seen him live, I was very excited to have the opportunity to experience and cover this show for The Oklahoma Reviews. The Madrid Theater was built in 1925 and still has the Spanish revival style inside and out. The theatre has been saved from demolition at least a couple of times throughout the years. Thus, making this show, in this type of venue, even more special.
The singer/songwriter currently resides in California but grew up in Texas after moving from New Mexico. Bingham got his very first guitar at the age of sixteen from his mother. The guitar sat in his closet, dormant and unplayed. About a year later, Ryan was in Laredo at his Dad’s where they would have company over. They would sit on the porch, drink beer, and play music. One of the neighbors taught Ryan how to play a classical Mariachi song called “La Malaguena.” Bingham would then begin to learn more songs after he relocated to Stephenville, Texas. Ryan would eventually end up in Paris. No, not Paris, Texas, but Paris, France. Stranded after the job that he was promised fell through. Ryan would busk in the park for money during his stay.
Ryan would eventually save enough money to get back to Texas. He relocated to the Fort Worth area and moved in with his rodeo pal. He would then begin playing with his friends’ brother, Matthew “Papa” Smith who played the drums. They played a gig at an empty bar in Fort Worth. However, one of the people at that gig was Marc Ford of the Black Crowes. Ford approached Bingham after the gig and with an offer to record an album. Ryan has gone on to record six studio masterpieces and one live album so far in his young career.
Ryan Bingham and is band played one of the tightest sets that I have heard in the Madrid. The lead guitar, fiddler/mandolin, bass, and percussion were all on fire. The set started off incredibly energetic fueling the crowd’s passion. It’d be hard to know it was a Tuesday night from the exchange of energy between the crowd and the band. Joy from the crowd could be seen and felt throughout the entire night. Bingham played a set that included tunes from the past like “Hallelujah,” “Sunrise,” “Southside of Heaven,” as well as songs from his newly released album, American Love Song. The acoustics in the Madrid were the best that I’ve heard in a local venue and there were times during his songs that you could hear the crowd singing along more than you could hear Ryan.
Ryan Bingham didn’t say much during his time on stage, but he didn’t have to and it worked well for him. When he did speak, his wonderful storytelling skills were on full display. He spoke of how he never intended to write violent songs and how he doesn’t believe in it or condone it. But, he grew up surrounded by so much of it. After he and the band walked off stage, the crowd roared for his return, to which he came back out to sing a few songs. His last song, “Lover Girl,” was written about his wife. During the middle of the song, he stopped and told the story of how he and his wife were dating at the time. He was a country guy and she was a city girl, before taking things further, he suggested they spend some time in the Texas desert town of Terlingua to “meet his people.” The way that he’s able to paint a mental picture with his storytelling is that of an old soul that you desire to sit by the camp fire and listen to.
Right before exiting the stage, after the band took a bow, Ryan stopped to sign a fan’s cowboy boot. The band then exited the stage to a roaring applause. Afterword, I managed to catch up with some friends who had seen him in Kansas City when he was here last. Unanimously, they all echoed how overall, this was the best show. There was an equal mix and fusion of slow and fast songs covering rock, blues, and Americana vibes. There’s a saying in the concert goer’s world that says, “never miss a Sunday show.” Basically, never miss the show no matter what day of the week it is. If you’ve not seen Ryan Bingham live or even if you have, he’s one you don’t ever want to skip out on.
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