Music  |  Features

Matthew Ryan

April 19, 2007  |  9:23am

Nobody buys Matthew Ryan records. First, he has one of those nondescript names that nobody remembers (it would help not to have two first names. So go with a pseudonym, Matthew; I recommend Ryan Adams). Second, he looks like a plumber, not a rock star. Third, he has one of those raspy, gargle-with-Drano voices that sound offputting and corrosive to people weaned on Clay Aiken and Faith Hill.

But he can sure write some great songs. He’s released six albums in the last ten years, and he’s getting better and better. His latest, called From a Late Night High Rise, is haunted by the death of a close friend and the news of his brother’s sentence to thirty years in prison. It’s not exactly upbeat material, but then again, that’s not exactly upbeat news, and it’s easy to find some 3:00 a.m. moments of pensive instrospection there that will break your heart.

Ever since Monday I’ve been listening to one of his old songs from his debut album Mayday. It’s a scary, spooky song, and these are scary, spooky times. I listen to it and think about the ghosts that haunt the classrooms and hallways in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The dead girl mopes through a dead scene
With a cross-stitched lip she’s picking at the seam
She’s got bravado she says she’s been
Featured in a few magazines
Now outside the bar Hank is straddling a police car
His fingers are purple and numb from circling a crow bar
Well twenty-four years have made it clear that things ain’t ever what they appear

He says
I won’t be going easily
No I won’t be going lightly
And I won’t be going peacefully
No I won’t be going innocently

A sweet drink spiked with a speedball
A twenty-foot ladder and a ninety-foot wall
Dark shadows are gathering and swaggering down the hall

And I know
I won’t be going easily
No I won’t be going lightly
And I won’t be going peacefully
No I won’t be going innocently

-- Matthew Ryan, “The Dead Girl”

comments powered by Disqus
Load More