On Our Death Day MAXI​-​SINGLE

by Matthew Ryan / Strays Don't Sleep

/
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    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)"

1.
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
2.
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
3.
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

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 / Strays Don't Sleep Nashville, Tennessee

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

In addition to solo efforts, Ryan is a member of Strays Don't Sleep along with Neilson Hubbard. They create minimalist ambient folk music, new Strays music is coming soon.

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