HearYa Live Session 20: Matthew Ryan

by oz on June 11, 2008

Matthew Ryan

So there I am at a bar called Scoot Inn located off the beaten path in Austin, Texas, US of A. I’m enjoying the sunshine, some free pale ales, and my first day of SxSW. Some loud “experimental” band I can’t seem to remember started playing outside, so I ambled to the bar indoors that held some shade and a second stage where a singer/songwriter stood, tuning his guitar. His name was Matthew Ryan and everyone in the packed room seemed to already know that except for me.

This guy from Nashville stood alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar, cleared his throat and the buzzing room was silenced. Everyone fixed their gaze to the stage in anticipation while I slurped down beers, waiting for Frank Smith to follow. Then Matthew Ryan started to sing and I asked a stranger, “Who is this guy again?” Matthew Ryan. Now committed to memory.

I made it back to California and picked up his new album, Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State on the day it was released. Since then, it’s been my most played album so far this year. His songs have a way of tugging at your emotions. They are honest, sometimes stripped down and other times orchestral. His raspy voice delivers each well crafted verse with care and his lyrics are, at times, stunning.

Matthew Ryan

The album includes a full band, but Ryan stopped into Shirk’s downtown Chicago studio with just his guitar and harmonica accompanying him. He played three tracks from his latest album, “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” “American Dirt,” and “Jane, I Still Feel the Same.” If you like the sound of those, there’s plenty more on the album. His music has been featured on the television show One Tree Hill and compared to none other than Bruce Springsteen. Call him Americana, folk, alt-country…whatever. He’s damn good.

Website | MySpace

Exclusive: Matthew Ryan – Dulce Et Decorum Est

Exclusive: Matthew Ryan – Me and My Lover

Exclusive: Matthew Ryan – American Dirt

Exclusive: Matthew Ryan – Jane, I Still Feel the Same

Exclusive: Matthew Ryan – Babybird

If you like this session, you should check out these past selections: Ha Ha Tonka, Cracklin Moth, Justin Townes Earle, and The Morning Pages.

Get ready for some upcoming live sessions with Joe Pug, Langhorne Slim, The Morning Benders, The Explorers Club and more.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Drinking Buddy June 11, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Great session from a guy I regrettably hadn’t yet heard of. All of these songs have such an intimate feel to them – the way these Live Sessions were originally intended. We haven’t had enough solo acoustic sessions – in fact I think this is the first since our very first session (unless you count JTE). I love it. Kind of has a Josh Rouse feel to it, which in my book is a very good thing. I particularly enjoy Dulce Et Decorum Est and Jane, I Still Feel the Same. I look forward to listening to more from his catalog.

Lauren (LP1983) June 11, 2008 at 10:51 pm

As always, amazing stuff.

tex santos June 11, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Holy crap. Such a nice intamate sound.

Paul White June 12, 2008 at 5:26 am

Absolutely fantastic stuff! Great lyrics and wonderfully performed. And such a genuine bloke too. Check out his other stuff … it won’t disappoint!

David Rose June 12, 2008 at 6:28 am

MRVSS is a great release. Make sure to catch Matthew live when you can. He and his band put on the best show by far I’ve seen this year!

markdc June 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

ive loved mr ever since seeing an amazing life changing gig in manchester england with his old band strays dont sleep (check em out please) mrvss is an album of the year for me and these stripped down versions really move me

Emma June 12, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I went to the gig in Manchester too when he was with Strays Don’t Sleep – fantastic and been a big fan since! Nice to hear some solo live tracks but just as great with his band!

giantrust June 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

as always, fantastic, why Ryan’s not a household name is beyond me, I would recommend all his albums.

phillydave June 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

excellent. Matthew Ryan, you never dissappoint! The thing that makes this better than when you played World Cafe is I get to listen tothis over and over and over. All these songs are done so well and i love hearing the band behind you and seeing them play with you yet “American Dirt” sounds just so damn cool in this setting. Hey, everyone, go buy Matthew Ryan cds, NOW! The lastest is a best of the year no doubt and right now “Consussion” is a personal favorite, especially if you like what you’ve heard here.

James June 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm

When a song is written with words that have forever filled your head. The song that explains every feeling that you have ever had. This is the type of song Matthew has always written. Heart felt words that touch your mind and soul . From all of us who have tried to find the right words to say. I would like to tell Matthew thank you . A line from one of Matthews songs is ,
Me and my lover told each other where ever you are thats where I will be.
No one has ever said it better.

Take care Matthew Ryan the world of music is a better place because of you .

Tony June 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Stunning. Beautiful. “Heroic…” but not “…in a failing way.” Universal. Human.

Rachael (Boulder) June 13, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Great stuff, this sound is amazing. Couldn’t get any better! Matthew you are amazing….

Adam Gard June 14, 2008 at 10:19 pm

WOW! I’ve been a HUGE fan of Matthew’s for over a decade now. It’s ALWAYS a pleasure to hear him perform his mesmerizing songs live…they haunt the space even more than a studio recording. Thanks so much for giving Matthew space to showcase his art!

joe c June 15, 2008 at 5:56 am

the man can pen a song and then arrange it to hit you right in the gut. His live shows are cool as hell i like how he takes requests for the encore and plays in the audience.

Jeffro June 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Very cool!

Daniel June 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Thanks for posting. This is great stuff. MRVSS is the best album of the year by far. Just saw him and Dallas and was absolutely blown away. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and he’s maybe the friendliest, most gracious artist I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with.

Ian June 24, 2008 at 9:09 am

These are really cool. One suggestion though… It’d be nice if you’d amplify the sections where he’s talking to match the volume of the rest of the song. I have to change turn up the volume at the start of every song to clearly hear what he’s saying, and then turn it back down to listen to the song at a normal volume.

Bateman July 27, 2008 at 11:14 am

Opened a bar and got MR to play about 5 times. I truly think the guy doesn’t realize how many people he helps at 3am when its dark. Great guy. I was talking to him about my favorite song “Sadlylove” from East Autumn Grin just in casual conversation not thinking nothing about it. Later that night he actually played the song which when I listened to the show(he always let me record them) Brian B is stunned saying that was the first time that they had played that song since he’s been in the band, 7 years. That’s how cool and gracious that dude Matthew Ryan is. Just to let everyone know the new cd is actually available on LP so if u get a chance get the LP its a great listen with the imperfections from the needle giving it that 70’s listening exp.

Angie August 8, 2008 at 9:50 am

*sigh* I can’t believe I didn’t click on this link earlier.

I discovered Matthew in November of 1997 and have been a fan ever since. He has yet to disappoint me and as I told him recently, his music has been the soundtrack to my life lately.

This talent that he has for making you feel like each song was written just for you, the way it reflects exactly what you’re feeling, what you’re going though… Brilliant.

Haven’t seen a live show in a while but think I’m going to have to find a way to remedy that very soon.

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