To fans of “Yellowstone,” Ryan Bingham may be more familiar as ranch hand Walker, i.e. – the lanky bearded fella’ spared by Kayce at the last moment after making an enemy out his father and Rip. The Yellowstone crew must love Bingham, too – because he makes that completely unexpected cameo in Season 3. Could this hint at Bingham – and the murderous knowledge he possesses of the Yellowstone ranchers – playing into Season 4?
Come 2021 we’ll know for sure. Until then, let’s take a look at the actor behind Walker, one Ryan Bingham, and what makes him tick.
Born George Ryan, Bingham Grew Up in the Rodeo
The man we know as Ryan Bingham was born George Ryan Bingham on March 31, 1981. This makes Bingham 39 years old at the end of 2020. Currently based in Lose Angeles, California, Bingham was born in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Reportedly, he spent his youth in several cities across the Southwestern United States. While his mother bought him his first guitar at age 16, Bingham had another love in his youth: the rodeo.
Fitting for his Yellowstone future, young Bingham struck out on his own early to join the rodeo circuit. Within, he became an accomplished bull rider in his mere teens. From there, he would go on to mix his bull riding with occasional guitar playing, landing him in honkey-tonk bars across the West.
He’s an Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter
While Yellowstone fans know him best as guitar-wielding ranch hand Walker, Ryan Bingham actually got his start in showbusiness as an incredibly acclaimed singer-songwriter.
As of 2020, Bingham has six studio albums and a live album under his belt. The four most recent albums of his are independent releases under how own label, Axster Bingham Records. Focusing mostly in country western, Bingham dabbles in numerous genres, but always seems to come back to his Southwestern roots.
For a short while, he would headline his band known as Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses. His solo discography began in 2007 with Mescalito, after being signed with Lost Highway Records.
- Mescalito, 2007
- Roadhouse Sun, 2009
- Junky Star, 2010
- Tomorrowland, 2012
- Fear and Saturday Night, 2015
- Ryan Bingham Live, 2016
- American Love Song, 2019
In 2019, he put this decade’s of country western musical stylings to the test. Bingham partnered with Live Nation that year to launch The Western, a music festival of his own ilk. The festival, held in Texas, was a hit, but would only get this one year run. With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, Bingham had to give up his music festival for the following year.
He’s a Grammy, Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice, and Academy Award Winner
How’s that for a list? Following critical praise for his first albums with Lost Highway, Bingham would go on to collaborate with producer T Bone Burnett. He and the Grammy-winner would work on the soundtrack for the riveting 2009 film “Crazy Heart.”
Within this collaboration, Bingham co-wrote and performed the film’s theme song, “The Weary Kind.” As a result, Bingham would net an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Critics’ Choice Award for “Best Song” the following year in 2010.
In addition, his “Crazy Heart” work would net him a Grammy for “Best Song Written for a Motion Picture” in 2011.
Perhaps most fitting for Bingham, however, was his 2010 win as “Artist of the Year” from the Americana Music Association.
How was Ryan Bingham Cast on Yellowstone?
Playing a colorful ex-con has its perks, but so does being a singer-songwriter. The ladder is, in fact, how Bingham was cast on Yellowstone. Speaking to PopCulture.com, Bingham recalls the story:
“I originally met Taylor a few years back when he wrote and directed a film called ‘Wind River’,” Bingham begins. Taylor is, of course, Taylor Sheridan – creator of “Yellowstone.”
The singer says that Sheridan contacted him about writing a song for “Wind River.” “I never seemed to come up with anything for the movies at that time that fit,” he says, “but we always kept in touch and remained friends.”
From there, the rest would become a massive blessing for Bingham. “When [Yellowstone] started up, [Sheridan] contacted me again about possibly writing some songs and using some of the songs that I already had. And after hanging out for a while, he learned that I had a history with rodeo and the cowboy thing. And so he said, ‘Heck, I got to write you into this show.’ And so that’s how that all started.”
How serendipitous is that?
Ryan Bingham & The Cantina Sessions
In addition to writing songs for film, television, and his own records, Bingham is also a big fan of covering his favorites. In a series he calls the “Cantina Sessions”, the star enjoys covering his favorite songs – like “The Story” by Brandi Carlile.
“Sending good vibes for all of us this Thursday,” Bingham posts to his Twitter for one of his Cantina Sessions. Within, he announces the cover’s arrival to his Youtube channel, as well. You can watch his interpretation of via his video “The Story” below to get a sense of what else Bingham is up to lately.
He’s in a Cookbook, too!
Believe it or not, “Yellowstone” star Ryan Bingham is also in an upcoming cookbook! In a new collaboration with fellow country folk artist, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bingham is offering up some of his own homegrown Western recipes for a good cause.
The two singer-songwriters are joining forces for “Meet Me At The Table.” The “community cookbook” will feature tons of fellow stars alongside Bingham and Rateliff. Bingham teases his involvement with the book often on social media, courtesy of The Marigold Project.
But just what is The Marigold Project? According to their Instagram page, “TMP is Nathaniel Rateliff’s foundation supporting nonprofit organizations and communities working on issues of economic, racial and social justice.”
Together, Bingham, Rateliff, and likeminded celebrities are putting together the cookbook to benefit charity movement #FoodJustice.
Will Ryan Bingham Return for Yellowstone Season 4?
With that surprising musical cameo in Season 3, it seems likely he will. With most of S4 kept under heavy wraps, however, it’s hard to know anything for certain.
Until then, check out what fellow “Yellowstone” stars have to say about Bingham himself, and the real-world experience he brings to the show.