Joe Crow Ryan performs in the New York City subway to pay the rent. He can usually be found strumming a ukelele or a specially-tuned banjo, singing pop standards and his own compositions. When performs inside, at venues like the East Village's Sidewalk Cafe, he often lets loose on the piano with Cecil Taylor-style free jazz and prose recitations.
His CD releases THIS MACHINE KILLS PURISTS, VOL. ONE and THIS MACHINE KILLS PURISTS 2 capture him live in the subway, on stage at the Sidewalk, and (most unusally) in a recording studio.