Photographer: Josh Sisk



“Let’s not not damn local folk-singer Ryan Harvey with faint praise: His music is tuneful, paired with intelligent lyrics and sung with such conviction is would have made Joe Hill beam. Into political folk music? There’s no safer bet.”

- The Washington Post Express

“Through a combination of storytelling, lecturing and performing, he provides a valuable, real world example for the unit on Politics and Resistance, giving our students insight into the world of a globally-minded, politically-active DIY musician… Students are encouraged to ask questions both during and after his presentation, to which Harvey gives thoughtful, measured responses, often using humorous and moving anecdotes to illustrate the eye-opening extremes of the human condition.”

- Laura Schnitker, Ph.D. – Ethnomusicologist and Sound Archivist, University of Maryland

“Ryan Harvey plays overtly political, amazingly insightful songs”

- Uprising Radio, KPFK Los Angeles

“Over the past seven years, Riot-Folk has grown out of its roots in the “punk folk” movement of the ’90s to become a major presence in the international folk community…”

- Baltimore City Paper


With the unplugged story-telling of traditional American folk music and the compassionate alarm of early political punk, Ryan’s songs are situated between the streets, the radical bookstores and cafes, and the DIY basement show. From Baltimore, Maryland, he has taken his powerful, insightful, and humorous songs and stories of activism and political analysis around the world for a decade, visiting 19 countries and performing in some of the epicenters of recent uprisings including Cairo, Athens, Madrid, Reykjavík, and Lisbon.

In June, 2015, Ryan launched Firebrand Records with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to build a platform for radical, political artists globally.

Ryan’s performances are part story-telling, part song, and part stand-up political comedy. Speaking in his own voice, he presents kaleidoscopic narratives of modern social movements, political history, and personal stories aimed at moving the listener to question, act, and self-reflect on serious issues effecting the world today.

Putting his guitar aside, Ryan also regularly lectures at universities on music, social change, and political activism, and his journalism is featured regularly in publications like The Nation, Truth-Out, TeleSUR English, and other online journals.

A co-founder of the Riot-Folk musician’s collective in 2004 and the veteran-focused anti-war group The Civilian-Soldier Alliance in 2007, he has committed himself to balancing and blending music and political activism. In addition to his own staggering 12 albums, Ryan has also co-produced two benefit CDs for anti-war veterans’ organizations, A Line in the Sand in 2008 and A Soundtrack for Refusal in 2011.