Ryan Martin Celebrates Life’s Immediacy in “I Just Wanna Die” (premiere)

Drawing on inspiration from Gillian Welch, Ryan Martin delivers a song that taps into classic country-rock of the early 1970s. "You can certainly dance to it," he says.

Singer-songwriter Ryan Martin‘s Wandercease arrives on 23 October via High Moon Records in digital and CD formats with a vinyl issue to follow early in 2021. “I Just Wanna Die” is the latest single, and it draws on classic country-rock vibes, with soaring vocals, a memorable chorus, and an outlaw attitude lurking in the verses, choruses, and chord changes. The pace’s immediacy enhances the lyrics’ importance, which examines life’s transient nature.

Martin says the song arrived after a particularly good lovemaking session with his girlfriend. “Why would this be the first thing to come out my mouth?” he recalls. “Songwriting is mysterious and strange. The truth is it was probably stored up from the previous months or years of pain and confusion and misdirection. The fact that we were a relatively new couple and hadn’t had sex in almost a year is a pretty good indication that something was wrong. Something was coming up to the surface from down in the well where the secrets brew with the lies. When the channel opened, the song just jumped out and stained the page with self-reflection, imagery, and enough tongue-in-cheek to allow those who don’t care for a truly morbid sentiment a sigh of relief that it isn’t really as serious as it sounds.”

He continues, “After all, you can certainly dance to it.” The dark country/rock tone, admits, was inspired by Gillian Welch. “To me, it’s like one of her songs sped up or a cowboy song, maybe ‘Me and My Uncle’.” Having gone through a few permutations, Martin settled on the version we hear on the album. “I think it plays to the ambiguity of how the lyrics work with the music. ‘Is he serious?'”

As for the musicians who accompany him, Martin is quick to sing their praises. “I knew I wanted to bring in Mike Robinson to play the solo, cause he’s the ripp-iest ripper I ever had the pleasure to play with. And with his b-bending and country inclinations, he knows exactly how to play on a song like this. Then we brought in Ruth Ungar to sing backups. [Producer] Kenny [Siegal (Langhorne Slim, Joseph Arthur, Chuck Prophet)] knew her gritty and soulful voice would fit well in this kind of song, and when she and Mikaela [Davis] blended, it sounded like the perfect mix of the sweet and the salty.

“I think in the end this song benefitted (as did the record) from Kenny’s belief in musicians recording live in a room together. And on this song, with the exception of Mike’s lead guitar, and the backing vocals, that’s exactly what it is. Just a little separation but enough bleed to make it feel glued. And the fact that everyone is feeling each other at the same time makes it a true live performance and captures the intangible element of the human connection.”

Call for Music Reviewers and Essayists
Call for Music Reviewers and Essayists