Award winning singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham brought two outstanding performances to Asheville on Monday. The first, a free in-store performance at Harvest Records, almost didn’t happen. But it apparently takes more than a blown tire to keep this musician from playing for his fans. Bingham played a solo acoustic set to a packed house. He began with “Poet” and “Depression”, a pair of songs from his latest release, Junky Star. He then moved on to “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So”. A song he dedicated to the mothers in the room. His call for requests resulted in a stellar version of “Long Way from Georgia”. That one made this Georgia boy very happy. He closed the set with “Snake Eyes” and “Southside of Heaven”, a couple of songs from his first two albums, Mescalito and Roadhouse Sun. He finished the afternoon by graciously signing autographs and taking pictures with his fans.
The second performance of the day moved over to The Orange Peel. It was a full on rock show with his band The Dead Horses. Bingham plugged in for this one proving that he can get loud when he wants to. The addition of the other three band members raised the energy level tremendously. Typical of an Asheville crowd, the personalities were mixed. As expected, there were numerous cowboy hats in the audience, much to the chagrin of the attendees behind them. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to be having a blast. The 20-song set shifted between mid-tempo songs like “Depression” and “Strange Feeling in the Air” to hard rockers like “Day is Done” and “Hobo”. All of it containing just enough country to remind us of Bingham’s roots. The encore began with Bingham back on solo acoustic guitar. “Borracho Station” and “Snake eyes” were reminiscent of the set he’d played earlier in the day. The night peaked when the rest of the band returned for “Bluebird”, “Sunshine”, and “Bread & Water”; a trio of songs that had the walls shaking as much as the crowd.
If Bingham comes back to Asheville, I’ll definitely be there. I would recommend you do the same.