Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, 'Junky Star' (Lost Highway)

6
Junky Star
Critical Mass
Label: Lost Highway

by Mikael Wood

This Texas-trained troubadour's recent Oscar win (for the Crazy Heart theme) hasn't softened his cranky country-rock mindset: "Look at my face, it's blood and tears / Shameless disgrace for your eyes to fear," he growls not long into his third studio set. Bingham made Junky Star with Crazy Heart collaborator T-Bone Burnett, but the A-list producer mostly resists applying his trademark chamber-roots atmosphere; no-frills cuts like "Depression" and "Hard Worn Trail" offer little to distract from Bingham's rough-hewn vocals.

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