"Farewell" - New Song & Video for You... 

 

Friends, 

This just came out this morning. It’s available pretty much everywhere world-wide where you listen and stream music. It’s called “Farewell”. It’s a cover of one of my favorite early Rod Stewart songs. It was written around the time that I was born. That was yet another time of turmoil, confused compasses and eventual hope. Martin Quittenton and Rod Stewart wrote it. 

We did this hoping to warm your ears a little. This is such a strange and hard time we’re all moving through. For me, music is always an essential sense of fight, good fight and shared experience. A sense that we are here to make what’s beautiful not only possible, but real. 

All love, gratitude and respect to Dave Coleman and Kevin Salem for making this beautiful noise. Dave did most of the heavy lifting, Kevin batted “clean-up”. I got the joy of just singing to the determined noise they made... 

It’s hard to believe with what we know of Rod Stewart now, all that he’s accomplished, that he inhabited these words. I love its simple story of defiant hope, youthful optimism. Sometimes strings are chains. We have to know when change is not only preferable, it’s necessary. 

The video was made by my dear friend Tom Sierchio. Our hope was to express the circular nature of our conflicts and how we crash sometimes, but we have to keep going. And besides all that, those cars are badass. 

Thank you to Joe Maiocco for designing the cover art you’ll see on the listening platforms. And always love to Hans DeKline for his beautiful mastering work. 

Finally, if you’re inclined: Save, share and playlist this song or any songs you love. It really does help artists like myself that are fully independent. 

Here it is on Apple / iTunes: Matthew Ryan "Farewell" on iTunes

On Spotify: Matthew Ryan "Farewell" on SPOTIFY

YouTube: "Farewell" Music Video Directed by Tom Sierchio on YouTube

Hope it warms ya up a bit. 

Always.

M. Ryan


 

An Invitation To Revisit An Album From Nearly 20 Years Ago... 

 

Friends & Listeners,

It’s a strange sensation. I knew early on albums were photographs. Home movies of found footage from and for the wilderness. Quietly offered, hopefully with a time defying dignity. Fields to be discovered and contrasted with the soulful maps, wisdoms, questions, and notes of others. Music is always a collaboration. Song and listener. Musicians and song. Amp and feel. Pencil and quiet.

Concussion was recorded and produced by Richard McLaurin in his home on Idaho Avenue in the early summer of 2001. Direct to 2inch tape. We lived down the street from him then. It was a beautiful and hard and hopeful time. Concussion was my third official album release. 

This album is where Lucinda Williams offered her monument of a voice to Devastation. Craig Krampf played his amazing drums and brought many of the songs to warm muscular life. I always remember Clay Steakley, Mack Starks and I digging in with "Pogues-like-abandon" for the gang vocals on my cover of The Clash's Somebody Got Murdered (which was later included on a full-length track by track tribute to Sandinista). Laughing and yelling all three of us in a guest bedroom around one of Richard's amazing mics. Jeff Black's harmonica on Drift (the opening track), hearing that happen, it was pure lightning.

My only thought before recording was: Very little compression, let the levels, words and sounds sort it out. Make it feel like weather, a humid summer in the south in particular. I wanted the music to welcome the ambient noise of living, to collaborate with it, not dominate a room. Tire noise. Traffic. Birds. A conversation. Rain.

Richard did an absolutely masterful job of capturing such a pure and minimalist americana noir. 

Richard McLaurin, Clay Steakley, Craig Krampf, David Henry, Ray Kennedy, Mack Starks, Jeff Black and Lucinda Williams. That’s the beautiful gang on these recordings. I'm so grateful always to all of them. Their friendships and their talents. All work is collaborative in music. And that makes it feel like play. Even with songs as "heavy" as these. Joy isn't always trumpets and wild kicks in the air.

Summer 2001, a few months before September. I love these songs. I’m grateful to finally make them available to you again. 

I never really know what I’m writing about in the moment. I just follow the river. Stay true. Don’t interfere with what wants to be said. Trust that it will be useful for someone somewhere sometime. I think now these songs were about choices, what happens when we let our darker drivers take the wheel. There’s a lot of death in these songs. Literal and figurative. There’s also a lot of sorrow too. But most of all there’s a want for redemption, a day that breaks with lessons learned and the dark stuff...? Just a passenger. Maybe in the backseat mumbling. Even better in the trunk while you drive to an isolated location to drop ‘em off forever. Somewhere where they can’t even get close to the wheel. 

Somewhere.

Please give a listen and share. It helps. I always hoped this album would eventually be rediscovered. Making it available again is the first step. You welcoming it is step two. Everything after that is magic.

More to come. You and yours, stay healthy and smart.

Always,

M. Ryan

Busy With More Beauty For You Together Alone... 

Friends,

Working on more beauty for you guys with some of my closest friends across the wires. Today, a vocal. Yesterday a mix of something else. The back and forth is slow and beautiful. Love the gang I’ve come to know. There’s more to share ahead. And more after that. 

If you love that version of “Heaven...” we offered last week please keep advocating and sharing it. Your words give context and context means everything.

Click the image below to watch the beautiful video my friend (Tom Seirchio) made for Heaven Is a Place on Earth

 

Again... Always.

M. Ryan

Something Beautiful For You... 

Friends, 

I quietly released a new song for you with the help of some wildly talented and generous friends today. Just below is the video for it. I hope you’ll take a moment and watch and listen. This beautiful video was made by my friend and filmmaker Tom Sierchio. A special thank you to Molly, Neilson, Joe and Hans for their beautiful talents on the music. 

All respect to Ellen Shipley & Rick Nowels for writing such a beautiful song. And of course to Belinda Carlisle and her strong and beautiful voice that tattooed its melody on all of us.

This was all done remotely and made us feel closer. Give it a look and listen. Please share it if you love it. It’s also available on all the streaming sites. Please consider saving and play-listing it. 

Here it is on APPLE

Here it is on SPOTIFY

Here’s the vid directly on YouTube

And here's the HYPER LINK that guides you to all the streaming sites you can find the song as its made available.

Thank you for listening. Hope you and yours are healthy and staying hopeful.

Be patient. There’s more beauty ahead.

Always,

M. Ryan 

2 shows with BLACK FLAG just added! 

Friends,

As I've said, I'm enjoying being home and writing a new album but have reserved the right to do something that caught my heart. And this is one of those situations. I'm happy to be opening for the seminal punk gang BLACK FLAG for two nights later this month.

 

Here are the dates:

January 29th at Iron City in Birmingham, AL

January 30th at The Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, TN

 

Hope you'll join us!

 

Click the image below for more details and tickets.

 

The Future Was Beautiful is now available via the streaming sites world-wide! 

Friends & Listeners, 

This is an important note to you regarding The Future Was Beautiful. Please take a moment to read when ya can. 

The Future Was Beautiful is now available worldwide via the streaming sites. 

On SPOTIFY

And on APPLE Music

More to come this afternoon, but first a brief explanation of my intentions: 

The hope was to slow-walk an album out to you this year. It was inspired by the perfect concision of Every Picture Tells A Story. Though musically, a different mood. I hoped allowing time for each song would add up to a different life in this quickness for the work. 

It was a crazy notion. 

I hope you’ll listen now as it was intended, in sequence, each song into the next. 

And here you’ll find The Future Was Beautiful video playlist on YouTube

However you listen, I hope you will. 

Your shares and saves and playlist inclusions (for the songs you love) would be appreciated. 

Best Always, 
M. Ryan

Steer Your Way and The Future Was Beautiful 

"Steer Your Way"

It’s almost mischief night. Tomorrow is Halloween. It’s raining here. It’s pretty though. I’ve always liked melancholy weather. Serious and cool. I like to think of these skies as silver rather than gray. When the light starts to dim the tree trunks and branches turn black. But you can still see the leaves all glowing with their orange and red, some even darker with a kind of deeper, bruised purpled brown. 

There’s nothing I can say about Leonard Cohen that hasn’t been said. I never thought of him as an acquired taste. As much as I like a toe tapper, I prefer that irresistible sensation of something like wisdom. I came upon Cohen’s work via the vinyl collection by my parents’ record player. Those giant speakers. The hum when you turned it on. The sound of a needle dragging over earth. 

“Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” was the first one that grabbed hold of me. It put me in my place. It made me feel as though I was a word in a sentence. 

I recorded “Steer Your Way” just after Cohen died. I was asked to do it for a tribute. I wouldn’t have leaned so quickly had I not been pushed. There were so many songs that came to mind to do. I could list them, but it would delay the what and why it became obvious that “Steer Your Way” would be my choice. 

To live in a system where destinations are the glimmering prize while life itself is a series of great escapes, well, there comes a weight. It’s almost as if what we’ve designed and welcomed is at odds with our nature, our hearts, our experience. And maybe that’s the point. This song is a prayer. Maybe? I hesitate to even pretend to express what he meant. He had earned his points of view. He’s many floors above me. 

So I’ll just say, “Steer Your Way” is the best song I’ve ever taken the honor to sing. It has acted as a kind of bandage for me as we move through this era, this age of dissonance. I wish everyone could feel these words the way I do. The fullness of them. I’m sure some of you do. I only sang it once. It’s humbling to read the past and the present and the future via such poetic concision while trying not to get the wind punched out of you. 

I mean, 

“As he died to make men holy, 
Let us die to make things cheap” 

That’s not cynicism. That’s what it is. That’s where we are. And the lyric implores you to steer your way away from that, knowing that you probably won’t, because you never did. And still, it hopes you will. That’s some Dylan Thomas light right there, do not go gentle into that thing that keeps dogging you. 

Fight. 

Keep fighting. 

What a gift. 

I did the best I could with it. David Henry played the cello. And Olly Knights of Turin Brakes sang the beautiful melodies and backing vocals toward the end. 

Special thanks to Rand Foster and Brian Brinkerhoff. My version of “Steer Your Way” will also appear on The Future Was Beautiful. 

The Future Was Beautiful releases (again) on most digital and streaming sites this Friday, November 1st. As I’ve already said, I hope you’ll revisit the songs as intended, in sequence. One into the other. This is my way of making a slower case, and hopefully a fuller inhabiting of these songs. It may feel redundant. But I mean well. 

Always, 
M. Ryan

Announcement: "The Future Was Beautiful" available this Friday! 

The Future Was Beautiful and Are You the Matador?... 

This Friday I’m releasing the 2 EPs I shared earlier this year as one collection. It’s called “The Future Was Beautiful”. These songs were gathered this year to be listened to this way, in sequence. It's my quiet offering to try and help ease some of these divisions. We’re at a dangerous intersection. 

I wanted to revisit a couple songs in the hope that context will mean something to some of you. Songs are layered. Music, melody, luck, intentions and ultimately, reception. I’ve learned a lot about grace from releasing songs. 

But here, I want to talk specifically about the words. This first one is for “Are You the Matador?”: 

Part humor and sense of wonder regarding the theater of the absurd. Part indictment of those that would trick and manipulate for personal gain without concern for wide repercussions. 

Life is beautiful and hard. I’m often reminded of these beautiful Springsteen lines from “Living Proof” when I look at the things we do, big and small, together and alone, politician or lover: 

“I crawled deep into some kind of darkness 

Lookin' to burn out every trace of who I'd been 

You do some sad, sad things baby 

When it's your you you're tryin' to lose 

You do some sad and hurtful things 

I've seen living proof“ 

There’s a tyrant in all of us. We must be careful with our questions, and what we fear. They can turn us into monsters. As far as I can tell, kindness and integrity and inclusion is the only way forward. 

“Are You the Matador?” doesn’t come out and say it. It trusts that you understand how delicate “freedom” is. How dependent it is on our right (meaning rooted and clear) minds. Together and alone. 

That’s what it’s about. 

I’ll do a couple more of these before Friday. I hope you take a moment with them, and if you feel inclined, please feel free to share them. At the moment “The Future Was Beautiful” will only be available on some streaming sites so that you can experience the songs in the sequence they are intended to be heard in. My goal isn’t to make you pay twice for the same songs. I hope that’s understood. I hope that makes sense. 

Best Always, 

Matthew Ryan 

 

P.S. It’s called “The Future Was Beautiful” because it can be again. 

 

Here’s the link to “Are You the Matador?” on the YouTube machine: https://youtu.be/L5eMgg9I01M

 

 

"Avalanche of Stars" (Song 4 from Fallen Ash & Embers) Releases World-Wide Tomorrow to the Streaming Sites! 

Friends & Listeners,

This toe-tapper, “Avalanche of Stars”, gets its own digital world-wide release on the streaming sites tomorrow because I decided at the last second to add it to Fallen Ash & Embers. 

Your Saves, Shares, Playlist inclusions and a follow would be wonderful since that’s how the streaming machines’ algorithms know if a song is moving humans and his helps other humans with similar taste to find it. 

That’s Kate York and Mack Starks singing with me. I love how the tender hope in Kate’s voice makes these words feel. What’s being described here are the moments “after”. A kind of sequence of vignettes. Each of us carries weather. Each of us. And it’s in intimacies and collision and hope and distance and quiet, those are the places where we find from moment to moment a kind of peace with our internal constitutions in relation to others. And ourselves.

That’s not even nearly the whole of what could be said. We’re such strange and beautiful creatures... 

Here's the beautiful cover art that Joe Maiocco designed for it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The simple art video is below, but here's the direct Youtube link to Avalanche of Stars: 

https://youtu.be/4pVIegz9t6E 

Here’s where you can find me on the Spotify Machine. You should find Avalanche of Stars waiting for you there either late tonight or tomorrow: 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/2tKdhceBIPAabG1BMuVhpa?si=k5ijz-p8RQ-gbDDjdtpIag

Listen when ya can.

Best always and thank you,

M. Ryan

 

FALLEN ASH & EMBERS is now available exclusively via my Bandcamp Page! 

Check out this short preview video announcing the official exclusive early Bandcamp release of FALLEN ASH & EMBERS!

Then go HERE to grab your digital copy of FALLEN ASH & EMBERS.

I always hope to surprise you guys with more than you’re expecting. So...

We’ve added a fourth song and wanted those of you that purchase music directly from artists to have it first before it releases via all the other platforms worldwide later this week. It’s meant as a show of gratitude because your welcoming of music means the world to us. Your purchasing of music keeps the engines humming, keeps our community thriving. That means you and us. All of us.

Thank you.

Always.

And thanks to Joe Maiocco for the beautiful designs again. And of course to all my brothers and sisters in creativity that helped to create this music. I hope these songs become beautiful companions for you.

M. Ryan