The Haret


by Jay Mattson

I truly, honestly, and completely believe that Ryan Baer will be the next prolific folk artist to go down in musical history among company such as Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, and Woody Guthrie. Under the moniker The Haret, Baer takes Depression-era folk music and gives it a fresh coat of paint without deterring from roots deeply planted in American blues. It has been quite awhile since an artist or band has hit me so hard so quickly. The Haret put countless, far more famous artists to shame with his effortless, breathtaking jangles about women, traveling, and drinking.

The Haret sound like a 1940s Mississippi blues quartet that would be far more comfortable on the front porch of the general store than a modern music venue or bar. Instead, live recordings have revealed that Baer often performs this music alone… on the street. In fact, the live recordings of Baer are partly the reason why I was so fascinated with him in the first place. Baer plays three instruments at once. While picking at a banjo, he also sings his lyrics or blows into a harmonica. The part that makes Baer’s street performances so intriguing is the full-sized acoustic bass that he’s reconditioned into a foot-operated instrument with pedals and all. He plays everything all at once and it’s impressive, to say the least.

Unfortunately, words do little to convey the soul and passion Baer lays into his music. His raspy ramble of a voice works perfectly with his three-repeat chorus and callback. And while the album has many original tracks, I find Baer’s take on traditional blues and folk songs (i.e. – “Going to Germany”, “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It”, “Take A Drink On Me”, “Stackolee”) to be simply infectious. He manages to take the original song and make it his own on every level. It’s difficult to sincerely empathize with songwriters of the Depression era if you aren’t somehow directly connected to that time period, but The Haret recall those years with such vibrant and rich fervor that Baer should be considered as an equal to the folk greats of decades passed. And this is a guy from Ontario, Canada! Boy, those Canadians can sure make some great Americana…

The Haret – Take A Drink On Me

The Haret – Going to Germany

The Haret – Ghost Girl


Jay Mattson

Depending on when you ask, I live in Greensboro, NC or Daegu, South Korea. I'll either be teaching English to Korean children or waiting tables in the United States. I'm currently writing reviews, features and weekly wrap-ups for Obscure Sound and producing an album with my fiance and best friend.


  1. Unfortunately the only place you are likely to pick up a CD is if you have the privilege of seeing Ryan Baer perform in person. We own 2 CD’s and I can say in all honesty that The Haret is now, and will likely forever be one of our favourite artists.
    And may I say that this article completely put into words our feelings on such a talented performer. Cheers!

  2. We’ll have some video footage of him on our show, “The Fire Hall Chef” soon. It was shot at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market. Trust me – I’m not a folk music person but this guy really knows how to make music.

  3. I discoveered this guy today surfin on youtube and i’m fuckin blown away! I can’t stop watchin and earing this! he’s got the sound, the feeling, the soul and all that needs to be the greatest! is fuckin great that there is people that make american vintage blues roots music in 2011!!!! i want his cd so badly! please somebody shuld put it online! sorry for my bad english! cheers from italy

  4. I just saw the Ryan Baer perform Crow Jane on This guy is fantastic! Where can I download this song?

  5. i watched him do a rendition of oozlin daddy blues on youtube. he’s really impressive. i really want to follow his progress but can’t find much info on the guy.

  6. So their myspace is now out of service, is there any way to pick up an album of ryan’s (specifically the one with these two songs) besides finding him on the streets of New Orleans or Canada?

  7. Ryan is a one-er. This Dylan-esque musician is worth watching closely. I hope he is making time to write and perform his own music.

  8. Is he or is he not an official member of Tuba Skinny? In some of the “official” listings of members of the jazz band, Ryan is listed yet in others Bobby Browne is listed as the banjo musician (this was written at the Jan 2013 blog). Ryan has to be the most elusive fellow. I cant keep up with where he is or in what he is involved. His solo work is without a doubt the most shocking since Dylan. Surely, some big-shot will discover him and give him a push onto the national stage. I’m hoping someone on this site can answer my questions. Can anyone speak for him?

  9. Listen closely to “Bobby Browne” during the male vocals in the RAG BAND album, #3 – “Papa’s Got Your Bath Water On,” #10 – “How Can It Be,” and #15 – “Treasures Untold.” Tell me that’s not the illusive Ryan Baer performing under a stage name. But, why?

  10. CLARIFICATION: RAG BAND is the name of a Tuba Skinny album available to review and/or purchase at

  11. Ryan – If you see this I’ve dropped a line at your Waterloo email. A brief reply’d be good. Thanks.

  12. Over 12 years since this article was written, wow how time flies. If anyone is looking for some mp3’s of The Haret, I have 2 ep’s worth, plus a few other songs. Hit up my at mfgeorge

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