The Ryan Matter Band, a Texas-blues power trio originating in Texas and now rocking New York State, got its start when Ryan Matter was working at 290 West Bar in Austin, TX. Working alongside several musicians, performing on the red dirt music scene, Ryan’s passion for music was noticed and he was encouraged to release his recordings and hit the road.
Now, this band born out of Texas calls New York home, with Dennis Knight (drummer & visual time keeper, vocals), Jon Monaghan (bass guitar, quantum physics) and Ryan Matter (guitar, vocals) are a power trio with a sound of Southern Rock and Dirty Blues – think ZZ Top meets Social Distortion.
Rob Smittix of RadioRadioX spoke with Ryan to get to know this unique act gracing the stages of Upstate New York,
Ryan Matter: What’s up brother?
Rob Smittix: What’s going on?
RM: Choking down a beer before I start playing.
RS: Excellent! So, what’s new and exciting with The Ryan Matter Band?
RM: I literally just booked this about 20 minutes ago. We’re goin to North Carolina in March, the week before that we’re in Florida for three days. Coming home we’re trying to pick up something in South Carolina then North Carolina and come home.
RS: That’s amazing man.
RM: I mean it blows my mind how sh*t’s working out right now. But just trying to stay busy that’s been the big key. Trying to get re-established as a busy band.
RS: Right, well it looks like you’re on track for that. Up here you kind of fall into the category of southern rock but you’re going down south, what do they call bands from up north that play this kind of music?
RM: (Laughs) Southern rock.
RS: It’s still southern rock, alright.
RM: It’s southern rock with a touch of blues. When people think of ZZ Top, it’s dirty Texas blues. With me living in Texas for as long as I did, that’s kind of where we found our comfort zone. As a writer, that’s where the writing came out. It’s kind of like, hey, here we go, this is what we are, this is what we do.
RS: I remember you telling me that you were in Texas for a while. Are you from Texas?
RM: I’m from California. I’m from Los Angeles.
RS: The first time I was in LA was before the time of GPS and I found my way around easily just by remembering how it looked on TV.
RM: Mmm Hmm, it’s not hard to figure out. All of the roads are pretty squared.
RS: I don’t know how I did it. I drove from San Francisco. When I hit LA, I just came down Mulholland Drive. I’m staying on the Sunset Strip and it’s right there.
RM: It’s crazy because I used to be able to drive all of those f**king roads with my eyes closed.
RS: Hollywood was like Schenectady in the 80’s, but with stars on the sidewalk.
RM: It’s gotten worse over time, it used to not be too bad. I mean it was always kind of dumpy but…
RS: Last time I was there was definitely worse than the first.
RM: My last time there was three and a half to four years ago and it was terrible. I don’t think I ever really want to go back.
RS: And you’re from there.
RM: And I’m from there. My dad still lives out there and he’s like do you want to come visit? I’m like not really.
RS: You’d love to see him though I’m sure. So, I’m really glad you are on board to be our first BANDwith segment. Stephanie J Bartik’s photography and my conversations with bands and artists seem to be a great combo. So, I guess I should ask, do you have any new recordings or anything in process?
RM: We’re actually working on a new live album right now. We recorded it several months ago, we’re in the mixing process right now, getting all of the tracks finalized. We actually just released a live track of “All Over Now,” one of the better songs that will be on the album. We dropped it as a single release leading up to the 2023 of the bootleg live album. That’s what we’re working on right now and from there when we take our mini tour we’re going to start working on pre-production and writing some new stuff and figuring out some of the other songs that I still have that we haven’t done.
RS: I’m glad it’s a live album. You’re a great live band to see and I think that’s definitely the way to go. I don’t know if you’re planning on doing CD, vinyl or MP3’s. What’s the deal going to be?
RM: We’re going to start with digital but we’re probably going to end up doing CDs just because I feel strongly enough about the album that we can invest more money into the promo of it.
RS: It sounds like you’re getting the momentum that you need.
RM: We’re really starting to pick it up. It’s been a nice change of pace. 2022 ended the way it has. Obviously opening for Mountain. It’s the stepping stones right now that are falling into place. I’m very thankful. It’s all starting to pick up and go in a direction that it hasn’t for a very long time. It’s nice to see all of the hard work starting to pay off. If that makes sense?
RS: Definitely. Last time I saw you and I got to talk with you was at Pauly’s Hotel for the Mountain show. First of all, I think that they picked the best opening act, secondly you guys f**king crushed it so much, with a great stage presence. Your drummer is sick and I love the way that he talks to the audience to bring the crowd into it. But…I would say you guys did not sound like a local band opening up for Mountain, you sounded like the band that should’ve been on tour with Mountain.
RM: Well, I appreciate it.
RS: Oh man, you guys f**king ripped it, man. I’ve only seen you perform a couple of times but I’ve always been impressed. I’m sure it’ll only get better and for people that haven’t seen you before I highly recommend it.
RM: It’s been a nice feeling, the reactions that we get when we come out that way and play. The bass player and I live in the Utica area and Dennis is the local guy. We love coming out there. It’s always a fun show, no matter where it’s at in Albany, in the Capital District. It’s a great time, everybody’s very open to the original music, which is a nice change of pace. I feel like we’re building a strong following out that way, it continues to open up new doors.
RS: I had to ask this silly question because I always kind of wondered. For a band that puts you front and center as The Ryan Matter Band. How does a band decide we’re going to go ahead and use your name as the band?
RM: It started out about 13 years ago and the band actually started out as 2 Lane Blacktop. Between solo shows and band shows, it started to lose name recognition. So, I started to build a following as a solo artist in Texas. When I’d go out with the band, nobody would know who 2 Lane Blacktop was. As things progressed, the two became one because of name recognition so it morphed into The Ryan Matter Band. It wasn’t for any other reason.
RS: That makes sense. I now understand.
This article originally was featured in The Xperience Monthly.
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