The opening half of last night’s co-headlining show at Park West was beloved folk/country singer Ryan Bingham and his band. The pairing of a campfire ballad singer with the former front man for Gaslight Anthem (Brian Fallon) may seem like an odd choice to some, but given their shared love of classic rock, it’s clear they’re a match made in heaven. They came together during the set for a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” and a couple more times throughout the night.
I’m not terribly familiar with Bingham’s work, but I know enough that I could enjoy some of the better-known songs. I found him to be a very charismatic guy, and his band is as good as any touring group out there right now. He dedicated the song “Sunshine” to his friends in North Dakota fighting against the pipeline being built on Native American land, which was a sweet way to bring attention to the issue.
It’s been over a year since Bingham’s last new music came out, but the fans on hand in Chicago didn’t seem to mind hearing some old favorites. The highlight for me was “Hallelujah” off his 2010 record Junky Star.