Saturday Sounds: Ryan Bingham at the Bijou – with Jamestown Revival

Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

Jamestown Revival opened for Ryan Bingham at the Bijou last week and the crowd was on their feet from the beginning. More than a competent opener, Jamestown Revival proved to be both known to the audience and a group capable of supporting their own show. Good harmonies, tight lyrics and a great roots sound that should appeal to a wide group of country-rock, contemporary-folk fans and more.

Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Jamestown Revival, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

Formed by Texas boys Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay in 2011, the band released “Utah” in 2014 on their own. It was soon picked up by Republic records and given wider release, receiving recognition from Rolling Stone and others. They definitely seem like a band to keep an eye on in the future. A very nice sound combined with a good energy on stage make them a pleasure live.

Ryan Bingham also has Texas roots, having grown up in west Texas and attended high school in Houston, though he’s now based in California. With five albums to his credit, including “Fear and Saturday Night” released early in 2015, he’s more established in his career. His appeal rests heavily on his whisky-soaked vocals and his poignant songwriting. I’m not sure what they do in Texas, but it produces a lot of singer/songwriters about whom that sentence could easily be written.

Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

While his albums on Lost Highway Records, his original label, gained him critical acclaim and accolades from the early in his career, it was the movie “Crazy Heart” starring Jeff Bridges that earned Ryan his biggest success to date. Writing two songs for the soundtrack, while working with T Bone Burnett, he contributed the theme song, “The Weary Kind,” which brought him to the attention of a wide audience. The song garnered him honors, winning an Academy Award, an Oscar and an Americana Music Association Award.

Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

Being a casual fan, I was surprised at the rock-orientation of the show. I’d listened online and heard copious amounts of acoustic songs or more laid back ballads. A more engaged fan would have known that Ryan Bingham can rock and the fans were ready for it. He commented on the fact that they were on their feet as the show had just gotten underway and they stayed on their feet for the entire show.

Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

For me it’s always a tricky thing to evaluate a concert. My mood probably dictates my opinion on the show as much as anything that actually happens on stage. In this case, I was probably more receptive to a quieter show than the one I got. Ryan was friendly, comfortable and musically on spot all night, but my head just wasn’t there. My friend and the most perhaps the most music absorbed person I know, Larry Crowell, said online how much he loved the show and that perhaps it had moved into his “best of the year” category. That’s saying a lot for Larry who has probably seen dozens of shows this year. I loved the group rendition of “The Weight” performed alongside Jamestown Revival and the bands seemed to have fun with it, too.

Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015
Ryan Bingham, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, December 2015

In the end, it was another fine show at the beautiful Bijou Theatre. We are very fortunate to have saved two of the finest theatres you’d want to find anywhere. During the encore Ryan got around to “The Weary Kind,” and everyone turned out into a mild Knoxville evening satisfied and ready for the next show. It’s a great time to be alive and enjoying great music in Knoxville Tennessee. I’ll try to post the rest of the photographs from the show on the Inside of Knoxville Facebook page a little later today or tomorrow.