AST Tracks : Ryan Koenig “It Don’t Matter”

Hey, listen here. We’re so proud to premier a tune from one of the nicest damn guys in music. Check out “It Don’t Matter” by Ryan Koenig.

The multi-instrumentalist best known as that handsome side man who plays the harmonica and bones next to Pokey La Farge, is releasing his debut solo album Two Different Worlds October 1st, and we’ve got a single from that for you today. Two Different Worlds is a good representation of Koenig’s expert musicianship and incredible sense of stye, it’s a country album with a spanish tinge (Koenig even sings in spanish on a tune), that’ll take you from his home in St. Louis to the Southwest Border. “It Don’t Matter” is a truly Midwestern tune, evoking wide open spaces, bleak winters, along with senses of freedom and despair –a feeling both he and Pokey LaFarge are somehow able to imbue in their music.

The song’s opening line, “I always wanted to read a lot of books but I wound up listening to records instead,” is now our mantra over here. It don’t matter soars with piano riffs and jangling guitars as Koenig sings about “old St. Louis” and a life that maybe wasn’t as well lived as intended, but how the revelation eventually comes in the end that “It Don’t Matter”. It’s sad and joyous at once, half true, heartfelt, and has an unforgettable, soulful tone.


What Ryan Koenig had to say about “It Don’t Matter”:

The only cover on the record, this song was written by Bob Reuter, musician, photographer, writer, DJ, and friend.  Bob passed away in 2013 when he accidentally fell down an elevator shaft.  He was always a hero and mentor to many of the Big Muddy Records family and to St. Louis musicians in general.  He also had the heart of a teenager in the body of a grown man, which made him  very dramatic and hard to deal with.  Constantly pushing his luck, never understanding why he wasn’t getting his way, he burnt many bridges, and sometimes it seemed like I was the only one that always forgave his bad behavior.  That was Bob for you though.  He was the kind of guy who would invite you out to dinner, and then tell you he didn’t have any money, which was not a lie.  Bob saw every kind of hard time and trouble you could imagine, which made him a creative outlet for the spirit of St. Louis.  He was full of stories, and you can hear these stories in his songs and see them in his photographs.

The first time I heard him sing the first verse of this song, I thought it was about me.  It is definitely not, and was probably written when I was a toddler, but that’s the way Bob’s songs can make you feel.  The verse is not included on some of Bob’s recordings of this song, so I felt obligated to include it, and this song, as a tribute to my friend.  Also upon recording this song I realized how closely it fit the rest of the album.  Travel, love, loss, St. Louis, Texas, introspection.  So in a way, it was about me.