Ryan Bingham: The Voice of "Crazy Heart"

Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.
Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.
Anna Axster, Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

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The harder the life, the sweeter the song... That's the tag line for the new Fox Searchlight film "Crazy Heart," starring Jeff Bridges.

In the film, Bridges plays Bad Blake, a country musician who writes beautiful songs, but struggles with alcoholism. Blake stumbles his way through performances at venues such as the back of a bowling alley. He barely makes a living, while his young protege Tommy Sweet, played by Colin Farrell, performs at huge sold-out venues.

At first it seems like Blake has little to look forward to in life until he makes a stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That's where the traveling musician meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a reporter with the local newspaper. The two quickly fall for each other, but their relationship is challenged by Blake's battle with the bottle.

In "Crazy Heart," music plays a key role. Legendary music producer T Bone Burnett supervised the film's soundtrack. He and director Scott Cooper approached young singer-songerwriter Ryan Bingham to see if he'd be interested in writing a few tunes for the film. Bingham read the script and wrote a song called "The Weary Kind," which became the movie's theme song.

Ryan Bingham grew up in New Mexico and Texas but now resides in Southern California. He, too, has seen his share of both hardship and success. Bingham spoke with KPCC's Alex Cohen about his inspiration for "The Weary Kind" and his life before music, as a professional bull rider.