An Anthem for the Broken (A single to benefit John Anderson)

by Matthew Ryan

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Welcome to A Single To Benefit John Anderson. The song only costs a dollar with the option to contribute more. Please contribute more if you can. All money raised here goes directly to John and Amanda minus the small distribution fee that Bandcamp charges.

Please read what compelled us to release this early single from my forthcoming record (release date not yet set):

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 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. The private details of John and Amanda's story are not for me to share. And honestly the details unfortunately can often put observers or readers at such a safe distance that they can't see themselves in it. What's happening to John and Amanda could happen to any 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. Three 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:

My friend John is nearing the last stages of his battle with ALS. John and his wife represent a lot of us to me. They've worked hard, they've been quietly 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 the gigantic and daunting financial pressures ALS brings. 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 the U.S. I have my feelings on that, but that's not the point here. The point is it's only a song but I'm hoping it can act as an access point for us all to show our support for John and Amanda, and maybe symbolically- ourselves. An Anthem for The Broken is not a sublime lament, but a punkish lean for the better parts of our nature and a purer ethos. John has always loved and advocated for that mysterious ability Rock N Roll has to throw fists in the air and inspire hope against tough odds. I want you to buy the song, I hope it offers some of that fire that music, friendship, language and the arts are capable of. But frankly the song is secondary to the hope that this effort can rally some help to some dear friends at a horrible intersection. The purchase of the song is set up for you to PAY WHAT YOU WANT with a minimum price of $1. I HOPE YOU'LL CONTRIBUTE MORE IF 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 can 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 an act of love and community. Please contribute and share this post.

- Matthew Ryan


released February 26, 2014

Produced and Mixed by Kevin Salem
Recorded at Applehead Studios, Woodstock NY
Mastered by Hans DeKline
Anthem for the Broken was Written by Matthew Ryan and Arranged by Matthew Ryan, Brian Bequette, Kevin Salem & Brian Fallon

An Anthem for the Broken
was Performed By

Brian Bequette - Bass Guitar
Brian Fallon - Electric Guitar
Joe Magistro - Drums
Kevin Salem - Electric Guitar
Matthew Ryan - Vocal
Everyone Available - Gang Vocals



all rights reserved


John Anderson Benefit Fairfax, Virginia

This page is dedicated to raising money to help alleviate the financial and emotional stress of John and Amanda Anderson while they navigate John's battle with ALS. Every dollar raised here (minus Bandcamp's distribution fee) goes directly to John and Amanda to help with their medical costs and living expenses in light of this devastating disease.

Read more about ALS at the link below
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Track Name: An Anthem for the Broken
An anthem for the ones who hurt
Who broke their fists on dreams and dirt
Who climbed the hills and found the sea
Who saw the tops of home and tree
Who never left their hearts in scars
Who caught the fire in the stars
Who held their kids when they were scared
Who found a way from here to there

An anthem for the real reward
The sometimes broke and bent before
Where hope is lost and winter birds
Float from the wires when shots are heard
An anthem for my mother's arms
The bravest walk, the big alarm
The boxers, cops and soldiers too
The ones who need no gratitude

We won't quit...

An anthem for the brotherhood
The light in the dark and the lean for good
The knowing not which way to go
But here but for the grace of the unknown I know
A dollar's not a peace nor end
I'd do it all and all again
An anthem for the broken hearts
That made it worlds from where they'd start

We won't quit...