Music fans, fellow songwriters and critics alike tend to agree that Ryan Bingham is deserving of a spot on the short list of the best singer/songwriters of this generation. And the Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning troubadour is back at it with his 4th studio offering, 'Tomorrowland', a CD that does not disappoint.

'Tomorrowland' is the first release on Bingham's own independent record label. There's clearly a fresh new sound on the new CD, without sacrificing the deep, rich lyrics that have been a trademark of his since he began writing. When it's all said and done, 'Tomorrowland' may turn out to be one of those albums that you find yourself listening to over and over again for its cleverness, tempo variations and just plain coolness.

'Beg For Broken Legs' is the opening track, and it comes in deceptively calm before exploding with heavy drums and classic rock sounding guitar work, and later works in frantic symphonic sounds and finishes with dizzying intensity.

'Western Shores' has a more familiar sound to Ryan Bingham fans. Acoustic guitar and a calmer tone, this song has a great message of redemption and learning from past experiences.

'Heart of Rhythm' is the first single off 'Tomorrowland', and features lots of tempo changes, and lots of fun. Jerry Lee Lewis appears to be the clear inspiration behind this one. Here's the lyric video:

'I Heard 'Em Say', 'Rising Of The Ghetto' and 'No Help From God' all bear incredible emotion. I don't know how Ryan Bingham sounds like he does, with his naturally gravelly voice that sounds like it could give out on him without notice. He sounds like a weathered old man, but at 31, he's anything but. It's the perfect voice for the songs he writes.

'Western Shores', 'The Road I'm On' and especially 'Guess Who's Knocking' are songs you will want to be careful about playing with the kids in the room.

'Tomorrowland' marks Ryan Bingham's first CD release since parting ways with Lost Highway Records in favor of his own Axster Bingham Records. The title sounds futuristic, but that may be deceiving, as Bingham states, "Maybe it's not so much about looking ahead as it is about leaving things behind." Fair enough. And while the new CD features plenty of the acoustic guitars and raw, edgy vocals we've come to expect from a Ryan Bingham, there is a clear rock presence that takes the energy of 'Tomorrowland' to another level.

While Bingham's previous two CD's, 'Roadhouse Sun' (#17) and 'Junky Star' (#2) made the country music top 20 charts, the new CD seems to firmly embed itself into the thriving Americana music scene, and may find a new audience in the rock genre as well. I get the feeling that, after listening to this CD a couple of times, 'Tomorrowland' is going to become a favorite among current Ryan Bingham fans, and will earn him more admirers along the way.