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BINGHAM GETS PERSE-ONAL: Long before Ryan Bingham got the nod to go on tour with Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Mourning Jacket starting next month, he played plenty of small venues on the road going from smoke-filled dive bar to smoke-filled dive bar. The James Perse store on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles may not be in that category, but it certainly served as an intimate space for around 300 people, including Perse, Ryan Kwanten, Garrett Hedlund, Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford, to watch Bingham perform. Bingham’s songs aren’t easily classified, and he shies away from being labeled a country singer. “If anything, it would be folk music. When I start writing songs, I just kind of start with a guitar and the song, so it’s like a ballot. After that, you can do whatever you want with it. You can add electric guitars if you want, and you can put fiddles and mandolins.
You can call it Bluegrass, you can call it rock 'n' roll, you can call it Americana, or whatever you want. I like to mix it up,” said Bingham, who is probably best known for writing "The Weary Kind," the Academy Award-winning title track for the movie "Crazy Heart." Perse is a huge fan and made Bingham the face of his pre-fall and fall campaigns. He called a Bingham concert one of his two favorite concerts of all time. The other was a U2 concert. “He played it solo acoustic, pretty intensely, and it was truly inspiring,” said Perse. “You could just feel him putting his heart into it, which you don’t feel at most concerts. So, to witness that, I was just flipping.” Off the stage, Perse lauded Bingham for being a pretty great face for his brand. “I am very uncomfortable with models. I don’t like things that are forced,” he said. “With Ryan not being a model, he was genius at replacing a model. He has authenticity, not just with himself, but also with the clothes. He was able to authenticate the clothing.” James Perse is the first brand that Bingham has worked with, and he’s liked the experience so far. “I love the clothes a lot. The shirts are really soft. That is probably a really masculine thing to say,” joked Bingham.