Fear and Saturday Night
“I’ve been carrying my trouble, this pack strapped to my shoulder ever since I was a baby,” moans Ryan Bingham in the first swaying moments of his fifth solo outing. Bingham’s earnestness makes the tune—and much of the album—an unshakable collection of poignant songwriting. Produced by Jim Scott (who worked on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers and Wilco’s self-titled album), Fear and Saturday Night is filled with tough-guy laments (“Broken Heart Tattoos”), fuzz-driven rockers (“Top Shelf Drug,” “Hands of Time”), and sparely accompanied tributes to self-destruction (“My Diamond Is Too Rough”). But it's Bingham’s voice—spackled with rodeo dust and world-weary grit—that haunts us long after the lights of Fear and Saturday Night fade.