Ryan Bingham isn’t quite sure where his Oscar is at the moment. But chances are it’s probably hanging out at one of his daughter’s dollhouses.
Lately, she’s been playing with the statue he won in 2010 for his contribution to “The Weary Kind,” the Academy’s best original song that year from Crazy Heart. An Oscar is an honor many work a lifetime to receive yet never experience, and when that moment does happen for those lucky few, they typically want another. But that’s not the case for Bingham.
“I feel like that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bingham tells CMT.com. “I was in the right place at the right time. I had a wonderful time when all of that was happening. And I’m pretty happy with the one I got.”
Bingham believes he wouldn’t have his Oscar without the Texas roadhouses that groomed him into the artist he is today. The dive bar oases along Highway 69 in East Texas where Bingham cut his teeth are exalted in “Jingle and Go,” the latest single from American Love Song. With a voice that’s weathered and worn, Bingham sings with an attitude of the great East Texas bluesmen who came before him. Lightning Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb are among his heroes, and they, along with Bingham, were gifted with voices that sing as if they’re taking on the world like it doesn’t owe them a thing.
“It’s a song I had in the can about the days when I used to sit in the corner of these roadhouse bars playing for tips,” Bingham says. “I did not really have much to my name other than a guitar, a bag and an old truck. But everybody has that thing that makes you jingle and go.”
Bingham partnered with revered guitarist Charlie Sexton to produce American Love Song, and the result showcases Bingham’s more bluesy side with his signature chaotic acoustic slide featured throughout the album.
“A lot of these bluesmen sang about simple things in life; their hardships, what they were going through,” Bingham says. “And when I was starting off playing music, what I was trying to do was get stuff off my chest and sing about the struggle and the hustle, being a poor kid in America trying to make it, and just sing about the simple things that a lot of people can relate to and a lot of what people were going through at the time. I’ve always been singing the blues more or less. I think I finally just woke up and realized what I’ve been doing all this time.”
This is the world premiere of “Jingle and Go.” American Love Song arrives Feb. 15.