On Our Death Day MAXI​-​SINGLE

by Matthew Ryan

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    The "album" download also includes exclusive lyric art for On Our Death Day that features the words over one of my photos. It's sized to be a lock screen on your phone. Or if you you're inclined and have a decent printer, it should print nicely. Also, please note that my cover of "Steer Your Way" is only available as a digital bonus track. It is not part of the collectible 7inch Vinyl.
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  • Collector's 7inch Vinyl with album cover painted by Lamar Sorrento AVAILABLE! SIDE 1 is "On Our Death Day" SIDE 2 is "And It's Such A Drag (2019 Version)"

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about

One of my favorite writers is the Irish Poet and thinker Seamus Heaney. He once said that every artist worth their salt feels a certain pressure during politically difficult times. He was referring to The Troubles in Ireland. I've been feeling this "pressure" watching our current events: the divisions and disinformation; the rise of authoritarianism, propaganda and tensions; and the seeming fundamentalist lean and zeal for profits and deregulation over the convulsing environmental concerns here in America and world-wide. I’ve always felt at the center of music there’s a humanitarian cause. We do these things to contribute not only our interiors, but to how we move through the time we’re living in, and hopefully even to what happens next. Rock n Roll and Folk and Poetry is powerful stuff. I’ve loved it my entire life. I work in it humbly. I felt compelled to share this song now rather then wait for a full album to be ready because of the “pressure” I mentioned earlier. It feels like an important time. Each us should do what we can to offer intelligence and beauty and conscience in contrast to this stormy weather. "On Our Death Day" is a love song. It really is.

I included 2 other recordings on the digital version of the "Maxi-Single" that I felt helped to enunciate my intentions concisely. Please note that only "On Our Death Day" and "And It's Such A Drag (2019 Version)" are available on the 7inch vinyl. But as I was saying...

Track 2 is a noisy reimagining of a song about an intimate confrontation with a narcissist. In the song it’s someone you helped along, gave your faith and time to, fell in love with. Only to finally conclude some hearts are monsters. The song is called “And It’s Such a Drag”, it was originally released as a folkier lament on my 2012 album, In the Dusk of Everything. This new version has myself and Doug Lancio bashing away at our guitars with the great Aaron “The A-Train” Smith on drums, and Kelley Looney on bass. I love the way this gang feels and sounds. I love how a gang can put a match to a song.

The 3rd Track (which is only available as a bonus on the digital version of this maxi-single) is a Leonard Cohen cover. It’s from his masterpiece, You Want it Darker. The song is called “Steer Your Way”. My version was originally recorded for a limited release 2017 Record Store Day vinyl-only tribute album called Like a Drunk in a Midnight Choir. I had recorded the song just after the 2016 election and Cohen’s death. The song is so brutal and generous. Part hammer and part loving compass, it helped to “steer” me back towards hope and solid footing that autumn I spent working so intimately with this masterful gang of words. I’ve loved Leonard Cohen’s work since I was 16. It feels right to include it in this song cycle, it says so clearly what needs to be said right now. I only wish that this was the Cohen song that every American Idol contestant chose to sing. We might then have that harder conversations we need to have with ourselves and each other… The organizers of the tribute album (Rand Foster in particular) were kind enough to let me share it with you here. I’d be remiss not to point out that Olly Knights of Turin Brakes sings the beautiful backing vocals you’ll hear. And my wildly talented old friend David Henry played cello.

Thank you for reading this. And thank you for purchasing music. I hope it offers some beauty and lightning.

Matthew Ryan
4/29/19

credits

released May 15, 2019

"On Our Death Day" and "And It's Such A Drag (2019 Version)" were recorded at Studio G! in East Nashville. They were both recorded and mixed by Doug Lancio.

Produced by Doug Lancio and Matthew Ryan
Executive Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff and Frank Swart

"On Our Death Day" was performed by Doug Lancio (High String, Mandolin, Percussion and Kick; and Matthew Ryan (Acoustic Guitar, Pump Organ, Percussion, Silver Sounds and Vocals).

"And It's Such A Drag (2019 Version)" was performed by Doug Lancio (Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Pump Organ, Backing Vocals and Synth); Kelley Looney (Bass Guitar); Aaron "The A-Train Smith" (Drums); and Matthew Ryan (Electric Guitar and Vocals).

"Steer Your Way" is a cover of the great Leonard Cohen. I recorded and mixed it at home. Olly Knights of Turin Brakes sang beautiful back up vocals and David Henry played the cellos.

All of these songs were mastered by Hans DeKline

Cover Art painted by Lamar Sorrento.

A very special thank you to Will Webb and Liam Haley Webb for the riffing, inspiration and help that led to the final verse of "On Our Death Day".

And thank you to you who still purchase music. It means the world to us.

Best Always,
Matthew Ryan

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Matthew Ryan Nashville, Tennessee

Matthew Ryan is experiencing a kind of noisy renaissance. It began with Boxers then Hustle Up Starlings in 2017.

His 1997 debut album, May Day, has been celebrated by Paste Magazine as one of the best albums released in the 1990s.

Persevering & devotedly independent Ryan continues to grow a sprawling career that's now rich with a long list of beautiful albums and songs.

(Pic by Chad Cochran)
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Track Name: On Our Death Day
On Our Death Day


After it’s all gone
It’ll be so clear
There were hundreds of ways out
But only one way here
When the city’s a bone and desert
And the farms are poisoned dirt
You’ll start looking for answers
You’ll start looking where you hurt

Oh Mary,
Is it too late?
Is every word an echo,
Does every song fade?
Will you be standing
Under a black and silver sky
By my side,
By the graves,
On our death day

There’s a vulture with his head down
The captain’s butchering Gunga Din
He calls for darkness and darkness comes
Our fellow slaves invite it in
But not you my beloved
You’re all that’s good in this world
And while the night feels stuck and endless
The road’s half lit, the moon’s a pearl

Oh Mary,
Is it too late?
Is every word an echo,
Does every song fade?
Will you be standing
Under a black and silver sky
By my side,
By the graves,
On our death day

When all hope is gone
All that’s left is hope
It’s not absent from this song
Though my voice won’t tell you so
But why should I explain?
What’s been obvious and plain
You’re in every book ever written
All you’ve ever known were these chains

Oh but Mary,
Is it too late?
Is every word an echo,
Does every song fade?
Will you be standing
Under a black and silver sky
By my side,
By the graves,
On our death day

Performed by Doug Lancio and Matthew Ryan
Recorded and Produced by Doug Lancio and Matthew Ryan
Mixed by Doug Lancio
Mastered by Hans DeKline

A very special thank you to Will Webb and Liam Haley Webb for the riffing, inspiration and help that led to the final verse.
Written by Matthew Ryan
© Plastic Violin/BMI 2019
Track Name: And It's Such A Drag (2019 Version)
And It’s Such A Drag


Who loves you
More than me
And who gave you 
All that he had
All that he had

And who can make you laugh
And smile like that
And who could break your heart
At the drop of a hat

Who paid the rent before you were famous
Who warned you that it steals
Now you talk about the past like it was just some waiting room
And you talk about me like I was just another one of your deals

And who wanted you 
Before all this
And who held the girl
When no one gave a shit

Who can tell the truth now darlin'
And who can tell a lie
Who helped you to see that it was always worth the living
Even when all you wanted to do was just lay down and die

Who loved you 
More than me
And who couldn't care less
Now I see
Now that I see

Who can tell the truth now darlin'
And who can tell a lie
Who said they could never understand how people became monsters
And if that ever happened to you you'd rather lay down and die

Ah my valentine
You're poisoned now
Seems the heart I knew
Is gone, a plow
And you can walk away
Like it's such a drag
That I'd have something to say
After all that we knew and had
Don't it even make you sad


Performed by Doug Lancio (Guitars, Organ & Synth), Kelley Looney (Bass Guitar), Matthew Ryan (Guitars, Vocals & Harmonica) and Aaron "The A-Train" Smith (Drums)
Produced and Recorded by Doug Lancio and Matthew Ryan
Mixed by Doug Lancio
Mastered by Hans DeKline
Written by Matthew Ryan
© Plastic Violin/BMI 2012
Track Name: Steer Your Way
Steer Your Way


Steer your way past the ruins
Of the altar and the mall
Steer your way through the fables
Of creation and the fall
Steer your way past the palaces
That rise above the rot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Steer your heart past the truth
You believed in yesterday
Such as fundamental goodness
And the wisdom of the way
Steer your heart, precious heart
Past the women whom you bought
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Steer your path through the pain
That is far more real than you
That smashed the cosmic model
That blinded every view
Oh and please don’t make me go there
Tho’ there be a god or not
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

They whisper still, the ancient stones
The blunted mountains weep
As they died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Steer your way, oh my heart
Tho’ I have no right to ask
To the one who was never
Never equal to the task
Who knows he’s been convicted
Who knows he will be shot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

They whisper still, the ancient stones
The blunted mountains weep
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you gradually forgot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought


Recorded and Produced and Mixed by Matthew Ryan
Performed by David Henry (Cello), Olly Knights (of Turin Brake on Backing Vocals), and Matthew Ryan (Everything Else...)

Mastered by Hans DeKline

Written by Leonard Cohen
Steer Your Way lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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