Review: Ryan Bingham, “Country Roads”

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November 2, 2009

Ryan Bingham_2Hey, here’s something new: a gritty-sounding Americana dude singing about open roads and not giving a damn. Pretty novel, right?

Well, no. But there’s a fierce vitality to Ryan Bingham’s “Country Roads” that transcends the song’s somewhat hackneyed Dylan-on-a-dirt-bike aesthetic. The opening snare fires off like a racetrack gunshot, and the harmonica-driven sound that barrels out after it is so recklessly joyful that it makes every word it touches sound brand-new – and better still, somewhat universal.

That’s a quite a feat for a song that mentions skipping towns and washing hands in the rain, but such is the magic of effectively delivered music: you can find yourself in its emotional core even if the external setting is unfamiliar. In this case, where the core is about casting off worry over past mistakes and others’ judgments, a little extra kick is all it takes to turn “Country Roads” into an anthem for anyone who longs to live unburdened.

Written by Ryan Bingham

Grade: A-

Listen: Country Roads (MySpace)

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