Song Premiere: Matthew Ryan “Battle Born”
May 12th will see Matthew Ryan release his latest full-length, Hustle Up Starlings, a heart-on-the-sleeve collection of anthems that illustrate his reinvigorated love of language, noise, and cinema. Produced by Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem, the 10-song set that captivates with cohesive narratives of intimate storytelling that make the personal universal.
Led by tambourine, acoustic guitar, and Ryan’s gravelly vocals, “Battle Born” is a Replacements recalling anthem about muddling through disenchantment and renewing one’s passion for what you love.
Ryan had this to say of the tune,
“A few years ago, around 2012, I was committed to closing up “shop” in music. There was nothing dramatic about this, nor did I harbor any sense of being wronged. I had worked hard and something continued to leave me unsatisfied. It was lonely and weird, not the movie I’d imagined at all.
I’d seen some of what success looks like, and it didn’t interest me. I’ve observed it in friends, even a little in myself, early on. The bait of narcissism. The business of songs. It all makes for a very uninteresting life as far as I’m concerned. Not to mention the songs tend to get worse. So I made a spare album called “In The Dusk of Everything.” It was intended to be a quiet farewell.
The plan was to find something else that brought some lightning and dignity. Then I met Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem. I loved what Gaslight was doing, all that punk and noisy folk with a gigantic heart. Through Brian’s friendship, I found what I guess I was looking for all along, a sense of real brotherhood in that thing we gather from the ether.
And a funny thing started happening after that, others came into my life. Kevin Salem, Cory Call, Sammy Kay, Jared Hart, Joe Maiocco, Mike Vallely, Michael Koryta… On and on, all these other characters with different talents but similar hearts. It helped me identify others that were already in my life that had similar features. It helped me realize I wasn’t gone, I was only lost when I made “Dusk.”
It happens, probably to all of us in different ways. But these events with Brian and the gang reconnected me to why I love music. My heroes started sounding great to me again, particularly Joe Strummer who is the ignition for “Battle Born.”
It goes on to mention Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits (or Petty depending on the day), Chrissie Hynde and Paul Westerberg. I don’t know how my heroes did what they did, but I know they fire me up. I know they made me believe more was possible. I know part of why I bought a car and moved to Nashville in the early 90s was because I wanted to sit around a table with hearts that wrote songs like “Bastards of Young,” “Middle of the Road,” and “Straight to Hell.” Songs that are rooted in some kind of mysterious humanitarian cause beyond the salvation of the singer and writer alone.
Those are the kind of songs I love, the kind that probably saved my life when I was a kid looking for something that meant something. And I guess it’s all I’m wishing to offer, to give back. That’s what “Battle Born” is about.”
Stream “Battle Born” in its entirety below. For more information visit HERE.