Matthew Ryan

Matthew Ryan

East Autumn Grin

A&M

On his first record, 1997’s Mayday, Matthew Ryan won comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Paul Westerberg. His latest, East Autumn Grin, is likely to add a couple more to the list. The opening “3rd of October” sounds like vintage Unforgettable Fire-era U2 (think “Bad”) with chunky Edge-like guitar (think “Sunday Bloody Sunday”) and even a Bono-like falsetto to go with Ryan’s customary gravelly mumble. The song builds to a soaring, swirling climax as Ryan sings “I don’t wanna lose myself/I don’t wanna lose you/I don’t wanna be humbled by the truth.”

Ryan’s voice is a limited instrument, but it is a voice with character and when it is surrounded with solid musicianship in service to a great song, it works like crazy. Fortunately, that’s the case more often than not on East Autumn Grin. His songs of lost love and personal searches set just the right tone, somewhere on the road between optimism and nostalgia.

“The World Is On Fire” and “Still Part Two” also visit U2 territory. “Heartache Weather” sounds more like early Waterboys. “Sunk” is a little too down beat, and Ryan’s voice wears out its welcome a bit. “Sadlylove” on the other hand is so catchy and well arranged, Wendy O. Williams could sing it and it’d still be a great song. The track brings to mind likeminded singer-songwriter (and fellow Nashvillian) Josh Rouse, who coincidentally guests on “I Hear a Symphony.” The record also features appearances by Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner (trumpet on “Ballad of a Limping Man”) and former Concrete Blonde frontwoman Johnette Napolitano (backing vocals on “Sunk” and “The World is On Fire”). David Ricketts (Sheryl Crow, David & David) adds keyboards and guitar throughout the record.

On East Autumn Grin, this twentysomething singer-songwriter from working class Pennsylvania gives one hope that the future of music may be in good hands after all.

Universal Recods, 1755 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10019

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Gary Wittner
    Gary Wittner

    Too Modern for Me. (Invisible Music Records) Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Willard Gayheart & Friends
    Willard Gayheart & Friends

    At Home in the Blue Ridge (Blue Hens Music). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Alex McArtor
    Alex McArtor

    Touch/Are You Alone (Bigmac Records). Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Superstar
    Superstar

    Sex, drugs, adultery, murder and finally, redemption – it’s all intertwined in the tale of Trent Davis, the “star” of author Christopher Long‘s latest, Superstar.

  • Moloko Plus
    Moloko Plus

    Moloko Plus is a monthly experimental music event in Orlando, Florida.

  • General Magic
    General Magic

    General Magic invented the smart phone in 2002, but just couldn’t get it to market. That’s just how they rolled.

  • Blue October
    Blue October

    Alternative 90s rockers Blue October rolled into Central Florida for a two-night run at House of Blues, and Michelle Wilson was blown away.

  • Pahokee
    Pahokee

    Pahokee produces sugar cane and poverty, but some the brighter students might make it to the big time with a college degree and a new zip code.

  • Sumo Princess
    Sumo Princess

    When An Electric Storm. (Educational Recordings) Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Laura Valle
    Laura Valle

    Charismatic. Review by Stacey Zering.

From the Archives