Matthew Ryan grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania just south of Philly, and spent his teens in Newark, Delaware. In his early 20s, he moved to Nashville, where he was first signed to A&M Records, releasing May Day (1997) and East Autumn Grin (2000) before falling prey to the gigantic label mergers of the early aughts. What followed was more or less an album a year until 2012’s In The Dusk of Everything. After moving to Western Pennsylvania in 2011, Ryan quietly decided that "Dusk" would be his last album. “Music had become too lonely,” he said. But soon after that declaration, a friendship with the frontman of The Gaslight Anthem reignited Ryan.
Hustle Up Starlings was recorded in Nashville, TN at Doug Lancio’s studio. Brad Pemberton (Steve Earle) played drums and percussion; Brian Bequette played bass; Fallon played electric and acoustic guitars while helming production; Doug Lancio engineered and mixed while adding synth and additional guitars. Ryan sang and played guitar as well. David Henry (former cellist for Cowboy Junkies) added strings.