Matthew Ryan is the real deal. He’s a vintage style rocker with modern sensibilities and his own signature style. With an archive of work stretching back about 15 years, his new album Boxers arrives at a critical moment for him as an artist. Boxers has the possibility of being “that” album – the one that clicks with audiences and establishes his legacy. It’s a great album, full of passion, longing, regret and inspiration.
Matthew Ryan’s real strength as an artist comes from his ability to make a personal statement with ease. His music flows – seemingly without effort. He never pushes and never pulls. His art is presented in its own space and its own gravity. Like the seasons of nature, all things in Matthew Ryan’s world come and go with their own natural rhythm. His music is that of a wisened artist fully confident in his balance.
Speaking with his own voice, he finds himself in stylistic company with people like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. There’s a down-home likeability to the music he makes, and perhaps some of that has to do with the album being recorded in Woodstock, NY at Applehead Studios with production by Kevin Salem. It could also have to do with the friends he recorded it with, and its dedication to those fighting ALS.
There’s definitely a message to Boxers, but it’s never at the forefront. You have to read between the lines and listen between the notes. It’s a message of aging and of loss. It’s also a message of resilience and hope. It’s a message coming straight from the heart and soul of a person who has dedicated his life to finding that truth and exposing it in all its pain and beauty. Matthew Ryan has traveled the paths inside his soul, both the dark and the light, and here, at the end of the journey, the tale is told through Boxers.
Boxers is, literally, a great American songbook and it’s time to recognize Matthew Ryan as a great American songwriter and musician. Timeless and powerful, Boxers delivers great, complex, inspiring rock music with a signature style. It opens the door to an endless path. It asks questions where the answer is in the asking. It’s a classic rock album from a true class act.