Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, "Junky Star"

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Much has happened to Ryan Bingham since the release of his 2009 album, "Roadhouse Sun," and his latest release, "Junky Star."The artist swept the awards season earlier this year, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the song "The Weary Kind" from the film "Crazy Heart." (Bingham also made a cameo in the movie.) T-Bone Burnett, who takes the reins on this compelling new album, produced the Oscar-winning track. Listening to Bingham, it's hard to believe he's only 29 years old; he sounds more like a veteran troubadour with a voice as gritty and worn as an old sawdust floor. Burnett's skilled production lets that unique voice take center stage, especially on the hard-hitting "Strange Feelin' in the Air." Bingham's writing is filled with stark images and canny observations, which is evident on such tracks as "Self-Righteous Wall" and album opener "The Poet." Look for this gifted young artist's star to keep rising.