Ryan Bingham was making music long before he took on the role of Walker on Yellowstone. He released his debut studio album, Mescalito, in 2007. Since then, he has dropped five more records. The latest was 2019’s American Love Song. Also, he has plenty of experience with ranching and bull riding. Those skill sets combined to make Bingham a natural fit for the series.
There’s no denying that Bingham’s music caught Taylor Sheridan’s attention before anything else. In a recent interview with Cowboys & Indians, Ryan Bingham discussed the song that changed his life forever.
Ryan Bingham Discusses His Most Life-Changing Song
Back in 2009, Ryan Bingham appeared in a movie called Crazy Heart alongside Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal. He also provided an original song for the film. Bingham co-penned “The Weary Kind” with T Bone Burnett for the movie. That song brought the singer-songwriter a new level of acclaim and attention.
“The Weary Kind” took home several awards. Bingham and Burnett shared the Oscar for Best Original Song, the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Song, a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and the Best Song Written for Visual Media Grammy, among others. More than that, the song changed his life seemingly overnight.
“I was touring around the country in a van with my buddies playing bars and honky tonks. Then, all of a sudden, I’m at the Oscars wearing a tuxedo,” he said. “Afterward, the floodgates just opened up to opportunities, introductions, and different projects. That’s led all the way up to Taylor Sheridan and working on Yellowstone. It was a life-altering thing,” Bingham added.
Most people dream of that kind of success. Looking back, Ryan Bingham says he wasn’t ready for it. “I was very overwhelming and surreal,” he said of the experience. “I wasn’t ready for it, even on a maturity level. I was pretty young, in my early 20s, and there were a lot of things I was still trying to figure out personally,” Bingham added.
Almost out of nowhere, he found himself “…In front of millions of people, and people are saying all these things about you that you’re not even sure are correct or true for yourself. It humbled me and it made me grow up in a lot of ways,” He revealed.
How Bingham Joined Yellowstone
Taylor Sheridan reportedly wrote the screenplay for Wind River while listening to Ryan Bingham’s “Hallelujah” on repeat. He also contacted Bingham to write some songs for the film. However, he didn’t come up with anything that fit. The pair kept in contact, though.
Then, when it came time to put together a soundtrack for Yellowstone, Sheridan reached out to Bingham again. “Originally, Taylor contacted me about writing some songs for the show,” Bingham told Cowboys & Indians. “Then, when he discovered my family ranched and I used to ride bulls, he said, ‘Well, shoot. We gotta get you in the show. If you’re good, we’ll keep you on. If you suck, we’ll kill you off.”
Walker’s still alive and kicking, so Sheridan must like what he sees from Bingham as much as the fans do.