Life hasn’t gotten any less hectic since I cut my Matthew Ryan review to 6 words, but in all the busyness, I’ve had plenty of time to digest the new album. The album kicks off with “Dulce Et Decorum Est” which not only sets up the album, it showcases the eloquence and beauty Ryan puts into crafting his songs. The title is Latin for “it is sweet and right” and the rhythm, melody and the haunting echo of Kate York‘s vocals draw me in to where I almost don’t notice the introduction of the violin into the sound scape. One of the elements I’ve always loved about Matthew Ryan’s music is the way he injects his unique whisper-like voice into the songs whether they are a slow or an upbeat song, it’s still a bit of sadness and joy mixed up. Other highlights on the album are “Closing In” and “Meet Me By The River” wherein Brian Bequette adds haunting guitar to the picture drawn. “A Rainy Night in Soho” (“Now I’m not singing for the future/though I’m not dreaming of the past/I’m not talking about the first time/I never think about the last”) is best taken with two fingers of whiskey, neat in a rocks glass. Again Matthew Ryan brings blue collar themes that are reminiscent of Springsteen like in “American Dirt”, but in the same breath there are elements that sound like an analog new wave. The combo that was assembled to record this album pushed Ryan’s brilliance to a new place. While he revisits some of the energy of his earlier records, it’s definitely more sonic and organic than his last album From a Late Night High Rise which leaned a lot on the quiet and electronic. If you ask me, he has a strong enough track record that he’s set himself up to be a can’t miss artist from here on out. Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State is a solid addition to the library. Just don’t confuse him with (near)future first round draft pick Matt Ryan.
I forgot to include the tour dates for the MRVSS Tour…no West Coast, and of course no Alaska, but if you find yourself anywhere near these dates, it’ll be well worth your time and effort to see him live.
May 2 ATLANTA, GA Eddie’s Attic
May 3 CHARLOTTE, NC The Evening Muse
May 4 RALEIGH, NC Berkeley Café
May 6 ARLINGTON, VA The Iota
May 7 NEW YORK, NY The Living Room
May 8 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Café Live
May 9 PITTSBURGH, PA Thursday’s
May 10 INDIANAPOLIS, IN Sam’s Saloon
May 13 CHICAGO, IL Schuba’s
May 14 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Tavern
May 15 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
May 16 FORT WAYNE, IN Come2Go
May 17 NASHVILLE, TN Mercy Lounge