Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett swept the awards season earlier this year, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for their original song "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart." And if there's one superstition even musicians in Hollywood adhere to, it's this: Don't mess with a winning streak.
So it's no surprise that Burnett reteamed with Bingham and his band, the Dead Horses, to produce "Junky Star." The Aug. 31 release is Bingham's third album on Lost Highway, following 2009's "Roadhouse Sun" and 2007's "Mescalito."
"T-Bone really brings the best out of you," Bingham says. "We recorded in the same studio [as "Weary"], with the same engineers, same vibe. When I first asked him if he would be interested in producing, he said, 'Yeah, man, we're already in here. Let's keep going.' "
Recorded during a three-day session, "Junky Star" is a collection of rootsy, hardscrabble songs about misfits and dreamers-the majority of which were written before Bingham won the Oscar. "Once you have it mapped out and planned, there's really no turning back," he says.
To support the release, Bingham is opening for Willie Nelson on a series of dates in September, including stops at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. He's also performing a few one-off dates with the Swell Season, whose Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the best original song Oscar in 2006 for "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once."
It seems that film music is now in Bingham's blood: The singer/songwriter's next project is working on the music for a film being developed by his wife, writer/director Anna Axster.
The Oscar win brings more than acclaim. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the "Crazy Heart" soundtrack has sold 283,000 copies while "The Weary Kind" has sold 140,000 digital downloads. "A lot of people got turned on to our music through that movie, but personally, [winning] doesn't even change that much," Bingham says.
Really? So no altar to the little golden guy in the living room? "I just keep it in the house on a shelf," he says. "It's not really any place special."