interview with Matthew Ryan

Dark, stark, brooding, explosive. It's all that, with an abiding brilliance that delivers both the singer and the listener at least an avenue out and an entrance in to the hematomic world of Matthew Ryan.

Seven highly regarded records into the game, Ryan is on the map, but still searching for home. He's done major labels, smaller labels, self releases, and international licensing deals, and thoroughly gained the respect of the global press. Through the catalog, his writing is unabashedly poetic, ever fierce, and always a very recognizable voice.

Sometimes called alternative country, his material frequently owes more to 80's Brit pop sonically, and his current missive, From A Late Night High Rise was largely birthed on one keyboard, before he handed over the storm of thick noisy tracks to Neilson Hubbard to sort and flesh out. This record took place after a collaboration with Hubbard and others called Strays Don't Sleep, and was written, more crucially, after his brother was sentenced to thirty years.

On the phone, I found Matthew very warm, a fellow Philly guy who was surprisingly forthcoming. No walk in the park, to be sure, but a good man. Someone to get behind; nobody to cross, certainly no one to take lightly.

After I digested the formidable From A Late Night High Rise, I revisited the midnight folk of Concussion and the masterful Hybrid release Regret Over The Wires, from a couple of years back. These are all passionate, important releases, and Strays Don't Sleep is a remarkable sounding collaboration between Ryan and Neilson Hubbard that includes Brian Bequette (Garrison Starr) on guitars, Billy Mercer (Ryan Adams) on bass and Steve Latanation (Agent Orange) on drums. They worked with Indie film directors (some acclaimed, like Gorman Bechard and The Barnes Brothers) to include films that accompany the songs, that spring from, toward or around the songs. Not videos, films. Some films the authors directed, with the help of Matt Riddlehoover. We will review that in a future issue.

Matthew Ryan is absolutely one of Nashville's landmark acts; you need to check him out carefully. To those with ears for him, he is resonating primally, provocatively. We think the world of him.            continue to interview