The Long Ryders Return To Tell The Tale Of The Bear In The Woods

The Long Ryders have returned!

If you’re asking “who the hell are The Long Ryders,” don’t feel bad. I did the same thing last fall. And before me, one of my fellow music collector/aficionado friends was asking the same question when he stumbled upon one of their albums in a used records bin. On a whim, he made a purchase, was pleasantly surprised, and recommended the group to me.

The Long Ryders are an alt-country band that dates back to the early 1980s in Los Angeles where they were part of the Paisley Underground scene. Their music owes a strong debt to  alt-country pioneers like Gram Parsons and The Byrds, and would appeal to today’s fans of The Jayhawks or Jason Isbell. They never truly broke out to the mainstream, but had modest success with a handful of albums.

The band continues to sporadically play live, but there hasn’t been any new music from The Long Ryders in 30 years. I’ve been enjoying digging into their (small) catalog for the past six months and wondering why I’ve never heard of them until now.

Perhaps the tide will turn, though, as the band has surprised its small legion of followers with a brand new song. “Bear In The Woods” has all the jangly guitar hallmarks the band is known (?) for, and a decidedly hippie spiritual lyric. Here’s the low-fi video.

A little corny, I’ll admit. But it’s a catchy song that feels like it’s from another time. If you’re digging that vibe, check out more of their music on last year’s fairly comprehensive anthology, Final Wild Songs.