Starlings Unadorned (A Collection Of Acoustic Versions, Demos & Previously Unreleased Songs)

by Matthew Ryan

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about

Starlings Unadorned is a 12 track collection of cinematic acoustic versions of selected songs from Hustle Up Starlings. It also contains some previously unreleased demos and songs.

Often after you finish a new album, you have to sit down and re-learn the songs on your acoustic because of all the flourishes and skin a band brings to them in the studio. What you're hearing here is the result of that process. Starlings Unadorned also contains some songs and demos that had yet to find a home. They just felt right here and seemed to expand the story. I hope you enjoy that little peek into my demoing process.

I'm releasing this now to help my band and I tour with The Gaslight Anthem in the UK and Europe this summer without the stress of finances hanging over us. We are fully independent and DIY, and the costs of doing international shows in a humane fashion can be overwhelming, if not prohibitive. We love the guys in The Gaslight Anthem and we really love that they are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their beautiful breakout album, The '59 Sound, with a bunch of shows this year.

I had planned on releasing Starlings Unadorned later this year but felt that now would be the time to share it with you so we could put whatever income you guys gifted us with to good use on this upcoming tour with Gaslight.

We've set the price for Starlings Unadorned at $10 / Or Pay More If You Want. For people to actually pay for music these days (which so many of you reading this do...) is an act of love. But please don't feel you have to pay more than $10. It's simply a way for you to contribute more if you feel compelled to.

And as always, if you're inclined, please share news of this release via your socials and with friends.

Alright... Alright.

Thank you, Guys. Thank you for continuing to welcome my work into your lives.

Always.

It means the world to all of us,

Matthew Ryan

credits

released March 7, 2018

All noises you'll hear here were created, played and recorded by Matthew Ryan except the bass guitar on "Lonesome Flare," which was played by Allen James.

Starlings Unadorned was Mastered by Hans DeKline Mastering.

The picture of Brian Bequette and me was taken at The Hi Fi in Indianapolis, IN by Dave Beckman.

The cover art was created and designed by Joe Maiocco.

All the songs were written by Matthew Ryan.

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all rights reserved

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about

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: Battle Born (Unadorned)
Battle Born

He took it straight in the teeth
To find out what was underneath
You’re still alive even if you can’t breathe
Ah Joe, you’re a hero to me

Hey Lu, I’m in love with you
Your kind of work and that lean for a truth
What else were you gonna do?
Hey Lu, I’m in love with you

And all the crowds
They call so loud
For hollow clowns
And their useless sentiments
It’s all so bent
Who’s paying the rent?

Aw Paul, why’d you disappear?
Was there something ringing in your ear?
Or did you just grow tired of tears?
Aw Paul, why’d you disappear?

Disenchantment is a ruthless bomb
But it never stopped Chrissie or Tom
You could be something, Anyone!
Battle born when the daylight comes

And all the crowds
They call so loud
For hollow clowns
And their useless sentiments
It’s all so bent
Who’s paying the rent?

On a dark lit night
In the throes of another fight
I heard a song made me feel alright
Made me wanna explode into light
I don’t know if there’s more than this
A loud guitar, some comfort or a kiss
All I know is that it’s the shape of a fist
And it’s pounding inside your ribs

Until the wheels come off
No matter the hurt or the cost
Screaming hope in the land of the lost
Oh oh ’till the wheels come off
Track Name: Run Rabbit Run (Unadorned)
Run Rabbit Run

Something's wrong
You know there is
Don't let your hearts
Go out like this
Ah fuck this place
it's a trap
Always putting blades
In your back

And it goes on and on and on
Don't get stuck just run rabbit run

Work 9 to 9
Just to get by
Even still, ain't it good 
Just to be alive?
Ahh but when it’s dark
I lie awake
And feel like something big’s crushing me
Or going away

And it goes on and on and on
Don't look back just run rabbit run

Oh my heart
The death and dust
Of no man's land
Be it brave or dumb
Let the white heat come   
Oh revelry, just take my hand

Something's wrong
You know there is
Don't let your heart
Go out like this
Ah fuck this place
it's a trap
Always pulling blades
From your back

And it goes on and on and on
Don't get stuck just run rabbit run
Don't look back just run rabbit run
Track Name: Hustle Up Starlings (Unadorned)
Hustle Up Starlings

Hustle up, Starlings
The dark is coming
The night's tuning up
And dusk is humming
I smile at strangers
And I talk to myself
My thoughts are lonely
Lonelier than hell

We met in a record store
In 1991
She was studying to be a big girl
I was trying to be someone
We had us some boys
And we laughed a lot 
But these days I'm just trying to remember
What it is that we forgot

I love the rain in the summertime
The way her hand would fall slow in mine
I loved her dress pressed against my skin
The way the night would let a warm light in

Now everyday is numbered
And so are the words
The hymn of a shadow boxer
Is to only hit where it hurts
Now there's no silence
That's quieter than this 
The things we love will one day disappear
First slow and then so quick

I love the snow when the winter comes
When loud guitars are pushed around by drums
I love that memory has more grace than me
The things I recall are lit with a blinding beauty
I love a song that doesn't care what you want
Like winter birds that never felt inclined to chase the sun
I've loved a woman with everything I have
And I pray to god I’ll give her more good than bad

Hustle up, Starlings
The bats are coming
The night's tuning up
And dusk is humming
Track Name: I Just Died Like An Aviator (Unadorned)
I Just Died Like An Aviator

Everything sucks
As bad as it gets
It all fell apart again
God, I'm a wreck
Rock n Roll
My oh my
The same thing that makes you live
Can bury you alive

And we fall so easily
I just died
Like an aviator
With my heart on my sleeve

And somebody said
"Look that bum!"
Since the sound of monuments
It's all heartless and dumb
I'm pouring a drink
And smoking a smoke
Our guts are born in that fiery trench
Between hurt and hope

And we fall so easily
I just died
Like an aviator
With my heart on my sleeve

Don't die, don't disappear...
I swear to god we need you here
Track Name: It's A Delicate Waltz (Unadorned)
It’s A Delicate Waltz

Don't wanna hear your voice
Don't wanna see your car
Don't wanna have to explain
Don't wanna fall apart

Maybe I was mad sometimes
Maybe I’m cursed my love
Maybe it was gonna be fine
Maybe my aim just sucks

But I'm a loser now
All my days are plows
The cuts, the bruises
The shorter fuses
I'm a loser now 

We smoked our cigarettes 
Outside the silver store
We moved like thunderheads 
Across the floor

Under a glittering sky
I swear I meant no harm
I wish I could lean back in time
To my lover's arms

But I'm a loser now
All my days are plows
The cuts, the bruises
The shorter fuses
I'm a loser now

It's a delicate waltz…
Track Name: Bastard (Unadorned)
Bastard

Don't say
That you'll stay
Cause I know
That you'll go
I know it's hard
For you
To be true
Yeah I know you… Won't stay

Such a dreadful
Human being
I couldn't believe
What I was seeing
You crashed the car
In my head
And on you went
To whatever was next
For god's sake stay… Away

I swear to god
I cross my heart
I'm feeling better 
Now that we're apart
The debt is paid
The devil too
I'd rather die
A lonesome fool
Than to be with you… It’s true
That bastard wrecked my car
That bastard won't get far
Track Name: Summer Never Ends (Unadorned)
Summer Never Ends

Bright streets
Red lips
Summer skin
A sloppy kiss
Blonde hair
Your cinnamon
Makes me feel
Like I could win
The traffic slows below
The silver water
A small bird brought a song
To where I caught her
If you want me
You can find me
Where summer never ends

Night falls
The warm coast
I watch you swim
I pull you close
And all the heat
In every star
The sticky stuff
Between two hearts
She smiles and says I've never been so happy
I'm no one's thing to own but you could have me
If you want me
You can find me
Where summer never ends
If you want me
You can find me
Where summer never ends…

I got lost
You got lost
I got found
You got found
I didn’t want
You didn’t want
We didn’t want
To drown
Track Name: Lonesome Flare (Previously Unreleased Song // Demo)
Lonesome Flare

Don't be afraid
My lonesome flare
If you feel lost it only means
You're almost there
Find a girl
And fall in love
If it breaks your heart then you'll know
What it was
The world is cruel
But it's beautiful too
It's not that hard to understand
Just look at me and you
Talk to me
I'm still here
One day you'll part with everything
But me my dear
Talk to me

No sorrow, No Sorrow...

Don't be afraid
My lonesome flare
If you feel lost it only means
You're almost there
And talk to me
I'm still here
One day you'll part with everything
But me my dear

No sorrow, No sorrow...
Track Name: Close Your Eyes (Unadorned)
Close Your Eyes

It took a week full of Mondays
And every Monday it rained
I fought the law and the dull
And got nothing but pain
I got twisted up and low
A little insane
I watched everything I love
Just circle the drain

Close your eyes
Then you'll see
It was all
Just a dream

I bought a car in Wilmington
I said goodbye to my friends
I said "Things will be different
when I see you again"
Well we hugged and talked,
The smallest talk
It started raining in the rear-view
as they shuffled off

Close your eyes
Then you'll see
It was all
Just a dream

Now there's a lot of bodies
By the side of the road
Careful who's driving
You don't wanna be a ghost
Now it won't always be easy
But it won't always be hard
Just listen to the cracks
In your broken heart

And close your eyes
Then you'll see
It was all
Just a dream

It took a week full of Mondays
And every Monday it rained
I fought the law and the dull
And got nothing but pain
Yeah home is where the hurt is
So I’m writing this down
Don’t think I didn’t love you
I just didn’t wanna drown
Track Name: Suffer No More (Previously Unreleased Demo)
Suffer No More

Candy looks down
She says I don't know what to do
I swallowed every word
And none of it was true
And every cut
And every wound
And every prayer
In every room
This time's too hard
And the end couldn't come too soon
Don't wanna suffer no more
Don't wanna suffer no more

Tommy stood there
With a giant tear in his eye
To break down or complain
Well he really wasn't the type
He never read a book by Marx
But he knew by now the end was tied to the start
Don't wanna suffer no more

And all we want today
Is something like a fair shake
And all we want tomorrow
Is a ladder that won't fall away
Or be thrown away
Don't wanna suffer no more
Don't wanna suffer no more
Don't wanna suffer no more
Track Name: Oh Despair! (Previously Unreleased Song // Demo)
Oh Despair!

Cue violins
And lonely streets
And those silver hills
Where we don't meet
Ah that's the sound of a heart
Saying oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad
Oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad

Oh despair
My trusted friend
It's you and me
Once again
You know the song
E minor comes
In waves of violet
From just one side
Yeah that's the sound of a heart
Saying oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad
Oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad

I crossed my heart
I swear I'm a wreck
I thought we might
Intersect

Now if I'm dark
It's all your fault
A good time was had
By none at all
I'm at your door
I'm in your bed
It comes in stereo
It's in my head
Yeah that's the sound of a heart
That's the sound of a heart
Saying oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad
Oh oh oh…
I want you so…
Bad

I crossed my heart
I'm a wreck
I thought we might
Intersect...

But I was wrong
Track Name: Peace, Love & Murder (Previously Unreleased Song // Demo)
Peace, Love & Murder

What’s so funny
About peace and love?
Peace and love,
and murder?

Everyone I know
Is feeling took
They don’t know where to turn
Or where to look
This sorrow weighs a ton
But we could be the ones this time
The adverts everywhere
The constant flood
You’ve never been so lonesome
It can’t be good
Am I the only one that wonders what my thoughts could be?

The punks have sold us out
They’re all pop stars now
The heart’s a ruthless plow
And hungry too
I’m hungry too

We feel it in our guts
There’s something wrong
The madness here is viral
We sing along
To anthems just so dumb
Mute the fireworks and drums
And there’s nothing there
Sometimes it rains for days
Sometimes there’s bombs
We’re whistling past the graveyards
While car alarms are swirling up like dirt
Some dry and die of thirst while others drown

The punks have sold us out
They’re all pop stars now
The heart’s a ruthless plow
And hungry too
I’m hungry too

Now what’s so funny
About peace and love?
Peace and love,
and murder?

The empires of the mind
There’s no refuge
That hard won bloody peace
Was just a truce
The monsters live within
We fight, sometimes we win
But it’s not enough

The punks have sold us out
They’re all pop stars now
The heart’s a ruthless plow
And hungry too
I’m hungry too

Now what’s so funny
About peace and love?
Peace and love
And murder?

Written by Matthew Ryan
Plastic Violin / BMI 2018

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