When it comes to writing country songs, authenticity is the name of the game.
If you flip on the radio these days, you probably wouldn’t know it, but listen to a Tyler Childers, a Zach Bryan, a Charles Wesley Godwin… the kind artists that are regarded as some of the best in the business, and you’ll quickly realize that telling the truth matters. It matters A LOT.
And for Ryan Bingham, truth and honesty are the entire foundation for his songwriting.
A while back, Ryan stopped by Off Camera with Sam Jones, but the show recently shared this clip on songwriting. If you’re an aspiring songwriter or musician, it’s a must-watch.
“I’ve always felt like you had to be honest with writing songs as if you’re having a conversation with somebody.
How do you expect them to believe what you’re saying if you don’t believe what you’re saying either?”
Ryan, who as been always been one of the most talented (and most underappreciated) artists in the game, has seen some more press lately due to his role in Paramount Network’s hit series Yellowstone.
His role as Walker has become a fan favorite, and his music is also featured prominently throughout the show.
And has it turns out, Ryan actually has a ton of rodeo experience.
And A TON of crazy stories to go with it…
Yellowstone’s Ryan Bingham On Sad Country Songs
When you think about it, Ryan Bingham is the ideal actor for Yellowstone.
From his impressive country music career, to his past experiences as a ranch hand and rodeo (basically a complete cowboy) growing up in New Mexico and Texas, he knew the Dutton Ranch lifestyle before he even knew he would be on the show.
Bingham, who plays Walker on the show, went in-depth behind the cowboy lifestyle and how it benefited him on the set of Yellowstone in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
He kicked things off by recalling the scene of a grizzly bear stirring up some problems outside of the ranch:
“Their natural instincts when they smell the grizzly bear is to turn and run the other direction.
To see all the cast, trying to hang on to these horses that are trying to run the other way… I had a lot of compassion for everyone on the set that day.”
He also admitted that even though the actual show is very serious and can get pretty dark at times, the cast loves to keep the emotions light while filming:
“We’re always joking backstage and things like that. It’s interesting how light and fun it is when we’re on set and we’re playing around.
People are chasing around horses and things like that. But then when you see the show, it can be pretty dark.”
There’s one thing about Bingham’s music, and that’s the fact that it cuts deep, with some of them getting dark at times, and a lot of stems from his tough upbringing, given that his mother died of alcoholism and his father died of suicide:
“I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to write lighter songs, but when I’m having those hard times, it’s almost like I can’t keep it from coming out. I’ll just pick up the guitar and it just pours out.
Then I record it, and there ain’t really no looking back. A lot of it, I try to leave on the page, but then I got to go sing it over and over. People want to hear the songs, and I got to relive some of that trauma too.”
Of course, way before Yellowstone was a thing, Bingham won a Grammy and an Academy Award for his song “The Weary Kind,” written for the Jeff Bridges film, Crazy Heart.
It’s the most well-known example of Bingham’s signature style… the beautiful heartbreaker.
Bingham also discussed the gorgeous landscape of Montana, where the show is filmed:
“It’s a beautiful spot, and the way it’s shot is beautiful. I think there’s still a lot of romanticism left in the world about that cowboy way of life.
I meet a lot of little kids that grew up in the city and don’t really have the opportunity to get out into that part of the country and have that experience. I think people are still in awe of that in a way.”
Needless to say, it’s the kind of place where inspiration can strike: