Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Matthew Ryan Issues "Anthem For The Broken"

 Acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Ryan has released “Anthem For The Broken” from his upcoming album Boxers for the sole purpose of raising awareness, and funds to benefit friends John and Amanda Anderson.


In 2013, Ryan traveled to Applehead Studios Woodstock, NY where he collaborated with Kevin Salem, who produced and mixed the album that has become Boxers.  Prior to executing an agreement to release the recordings, the artist has made this altruistic move to do his part in assisting friends in need.  He has posted a public statement requesting those moved by this story re-post his initiative which can be found here: johnandersonbenefit.bandcamp.com/album/an-anthem-for-the-broken-a-single-to-benefit-john-anderson.


It reads: “How can it be that you can do everything right and still end up emotionally devastated and financially destroyed? My friend John Anderson and his wife Amanda are monuments to this truth. The story is beautiful, heartbreaking and angering. As a friend watching this story unfold it has been almost helplessly infuriating, but it’s also been staggering in the glowing grace and perseverance John, Amanda and their friends and family have displayed. What’s happening to John and Amanda could happen to anyone of us. John has been a healthy, committed, successful and communal human all his life. He took no known risks to earn the health sentence he now faces. And let me be clear, he faces it with strength and a certain graceful but slightly pained grin that is inspiring. A few years ago he was diagnosed with ALS. Initially he fought it, researched and hoped he could beat it. Late one night not long ago John and I sat out on the patio next to his pool talking about the will to fight what seemed fated until early in the morning. I remember waving goodbye the next day to a very healthy but worried looking John. I drove away naively hopeful. But ALS is a ruthless disease. It essentially breaks the brains ability to control and communicate with muscles. Muscles atrophy and eventually the body stops working. Cruelly one who suffers this disease is generally very aware inside their hearts and minds of what’s happening, even when the rest of their body begins shutting down. You can read more about it here: www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html.

My friend John is going through this. He’s nearing the last stages. John and his wife represent a lot of us to me. They’ve worked hard, they’ve been successful, they’ve been responsible, they’ve been loving friends and sturdy family members. In our circle they have been a center. Now not only are they emotionally distressed by the changes in what the future and the present would be, they are also under gigantic and daunting financial pressure. As a friend what else can I do? I have to do something. If I had the personal resources I would make it so that John and Amanda would not have to deal with a single financial concern going forward. John is smart both intellectually and emotionally. I can feel that he doesn’t want part of his legacy to be the financial hangover of a disease for Amanda and his family. So again, as a friend, what can I do? I can try and raise awareness, I can try to rally generosity and community to help these people that represent so many of us. Quietly this happens thousands of times a year in our country. I have my feelings on that, but that’s not the point here. The point is I’m offering a song, it’s not a lament. It’s all I can offer, that’s my talent or gift. It’s a song for fighters and for rallying the good in the human spirit. The song is called ‘An Anthem for The Broken.’ I want you to buy it, but frankly I don’t care if you listen to a note of it. The purchase of the song is set up for you to PAY WHAT YOU WANT. But I’m hoping you’ll PAY WHAT YOU CAN. All of the money that comes in from this single will go directly to John and Amanda with the exception of the fee Bandcamp charges to distribute music. With your help we can do more for them then I could ever do alone. I hope you’ll participate and I hope you’ll help to get others to participate. This really isn’t charity, this is love. The link to purchase is right below. Please do so and share this post.”

In regards to the recordings from November, 2013 that became Boxers, Ryan offers, “This is the record I’ve been moving towards since the beginning. It’s a collection of songs and melodies and music fueled by concise stories, metaphor and allegory where all the characters are fighting for something. Some are fighting for their lives, some for dignity, and others for love, security and/or fire. It’s a record informed and inspired by the times we’re all navigating via a love of the ever redemptive possibility in a pure and unadorned Rock N Roll. I grew up loving The Replacements, The Clash, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. In fact all involved in the making of this music share a similar Rock N Roll DNA and historic ethos. I find myself so proud of the cohesive recklessness and cinema we were lucky to capture here.”

Boxers was produced and mixed by Kevin Salem. The band is Salem on Electric Guitar and various instruments, Brian Bequette on Bass, Brian Fallon (of Gaslight Anthem) on Electric Guitar, Joe Magistro on Drums, and Matthew Ryan on guitar, vocals and various instruments.