Editors’ Notes Texas singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham possesses a voice as parched and pitted as the landscapes his lyrics describe. The songs on his major label debut Mescalito (2007) convey the same sort of grim fatalism and smoldering romance that pervades the novels of Cormac McCarthy. Though classified as a maverick country artist, Bingham seems as much inspired by the blues-rock of the Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones as by Hank, Willie or Waylon. Such labels don’t really matter, tough. What counts is that the music here has a genuine feel, chronicling America’s wide open spaces from the bottom up. Mescalito works as a complete narrative, though certain tracks stand out — “Boracho Station” (a Spanish ballad of cracked loveliness), “Long Way from Georgia” (a drifter’s weary lament) and “Sunshine” (a rollicking, nearly delirious number). Bingham manages a rough-hewn love song with the almost-funky “Take It Easy Mama,” but more typical are lonesome highway sketches like “Ever Wonder Why” and “Ghost of Travelin’ Jones.” Marc Ford’s production and instrumental touches avoid extraneous polish. Bingham may be a relative youngster, but Mescalito bears the mark of a well-seasoned artist with an ageless road story to tell.