friedman

Andy Friedman prepares 'Laserbeams And Dreams' CD

On April 5, 2011, artist and songwriter Andy Friedman will release his third studio album, Laserbeams and Dreams (City Salvage Records).  Produced by noted guitarist and producer David Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey), the album was recorded in Friedman’s Brooklyn neighborhood and cut in 24 hours with one overdub and mixed in the studio.  Complementing Friedman’s “art-damaged, ragged-but-right” (L.A. Weekly) approach and Goodrich’s restrained, atmospheric lead guitar and piano is rising-star upright bassist and composer Stephan Crump (Grammy®-nominated Vijay Iyer Trio, Jim Campilongo), whose latest album of “ingenious originals” (The New Yorker), Reclamation (recorded with his Rosetta Trio), NPR spotlighted among its top five jazz albums of 2010. The interplay of Friedman’s “engagingly singular” (Philadelphia Inquirer) songwriting and “slow, lugubrious, dipped in country heartache” (Hartford Advocate) strum with Crump’s “full, appealingly wooden sound” (The New York Times) calls to mind classic collaborations by Van Morrison with bassist Richard Davis on 1968’s Astral Weeks, or John Hartford and Dave Holland on 1972’s Morning Bugle Call — albums also recorded live in the studio without much pre-conceived musical planning.  “We captured the mood created,” says Friedman.  “It wasn’t our place to second-guess the results.”

Andy Friedman first hit the road as a self-described “Slideshow Poet” in 2002, leaving his day job as an office assistant in the Editorial Department at The New Yorker to accompany projections of his paintings, drawings, and Polaroids with readings of his poetry in dive bars and rock clubs around the nation.  The hybrid performance was applauded by journalists as “the coolest show to come around in a long time” (Good Times [Santa Cruz]), and introduced Friedman as “The King of Art Country” (City Pages [Minneapolis]).  The transition from traveling poet to rambling musician occurred when the “erudite redneck” (Boston Globe) picked up the guitar and sang for the first time in his life in 2005, shortly before recording his debut album, Taken Man (City Salvage Records), the title track of which landed at #30 on a New York Post “Best Songs” list that included over 200 hits by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Andrew Bird, Amy Winehouse, and The National.

Friedman’s reputation as a “dusty, paint-splattered Americana sage” (Rochester News & Democrat) germinated with the release of the CD Weary Things (City Salvage Records) in 2009, garnering enthusiastic praise, a performance on NPR’s coveted Mountain Stage, a feature interview on XM’s Bob Edwards Show, and a growing audience.  The online cultural journal Slant hailed Friedman as “an arrival of one of the genre’s smartest and deepest talents.” His “hard-tack country originals” were described in The New Yorker as “the mark of a true artist,” while NoDepression.com called his songs “unforgettable.” Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor proffered the song “Weary Things” as a “certified, genuine American tune,” and Indie-icon Sufjan Stevens proclaimed, “I think the world of Andy Friedman. I’ve always wanted to be Andy Friedman.” Largely overlooked, Weary Things was highlighted alongside titles by Tom Waits and Chuck Prophet by the Associated Press among “The Best Overlooked Albums of 2009.” “Friedman can write a lyric, and he can deliver it,” declared Stephen Wine. “He is not to be overlooked, that’s for sure.”

Laserbeams and Dreams tackles themes of religion, aging, disillusionment, and family, but images of death prevail in all forms. The gospel dirge “Time for Church” is the album’s opener, and finds Friedman renouncing religion in favor of drink, music, and art.  “It’s time for church/It’s five o’clock,” he sings. “Pour a drink/let the record play.” Friedman’s vocals boom with an echo recalling the classic Nashville Sound recorded by Chet Atkins at RCA in the late ’50s and ’60s. The lilting “Motel on the Lake” presents death as the crumbling façade of a once vibrant Catskill Mountain summer resort community more famously referred to as the Borscht Belt, which the singer now reports “whips the children.” Goodrich brings haunting upright piano to “May I Rest When Death Approaches,” a song based on a series of poems written by Friedman’s father-in-law days before his passing.  “Roll On, John Herald” is at once a tribute to the late John Herald — a founding member of the seminal late-’50s bluegrass trio the Greenbriar Boys, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the summer of 2005 — and a humbling, dark portrayal of life as an obscure legend on the road. “When Vin played him on Idiot’s Delight/I knew John Herald had died,” growls Friedman, who befriended the singer when Herald invited the then “slideshow poet” to open a string of dates in 2003.  In “Quiet Blues,” recorded minutes after the ferocious “Roll On, John Herald,” Friedman laments with newfound vocal sensitivity the death of peace and quiet in the digital age.  “Hey, Command Z/bring the quiet blues back to me,” he warbles. “Recording those two songs without a break was like a biathlon,” says Friedman. Singer-songwriter Jen Chapin, who is married to Crump, lent the guitar played by her father — the late Harry Chapin — to Friedman for the recording of Laserbeams and Dreams.

It’s not all death and despair for Friedman, who approaches these themes with the acerbic wit and dark humor of a New Yorker gag cartoon — a pastime with which the singer has found past success under the pseudonym Larry Hat. With “Going Home (Drifter’s Blessing),” Friedman delivers an anthem for the little-known folksinger trying to make it out on the road, whose faith in himself is tested by long drives, missed family, and dismal turnouts, but can only wish the life on his children and theirs.  In “Down by the Willow,” the album’s closer, Friedman is seduced by the serenity of life in the country but is “shackled and chained” to the gritty confines of the city, revisiting the famous car wash scene from the 1967 Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke.

Friedman will perform the record in its entirety, accompanied by David Goodrich and Stephan Crump, on select dates during the Laserbeams and Dreams tour.

Kinky Friedman's First West Coast Your in Two Decades

Former Texas gubernatorial candidate, political commentator and self-proclaimed “author, columnist, musician and beautician” Kinky Friedman will perform on the West Coast this summer for the first time in nearly 20 years. Dates for the “Go West Young Kinky Tour of 2010” start on July 26th in Vancouver and continue into August (a full list of venues follows). Two members of Kinky's seminal band the Texas Jewboys, Little Jewford and Washington Ratso, will join him on the tour.  No prisoners will be taken. Only the strong shall survive.

The Kinkster, often referred to as the “Mark Twain of Texas,” will also be hawking his wares, in this case his most recent (limited edition) books, Heroes of a Texas Childhood and What Would Kinky Do?, both of which will be available for purchase and signing at the shows. As Kinky has often said, he’ll “sign anything but bad legislation.” This includes any of his dozens of top-selling books or columns, or even his Kinky Friedman Cigars, which, rumor has it, will also be available at the venues. Bring it, and he will sign it.

Kinky Friedman rose to stardom in the ’70s, with the aforementioned Texas Jewboys as his sick and twisted sidekicks. An equal opportunity offender, Kinky, with his outrageous lyrics and crazed stage persona, may have offended some, but drew people like Don Imus, Robin Williams, Bob Dylan and John Belushi into his spiritual fan club. He toured with Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue and appeared on the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live. His infamous appearance on Austin City Limits, the only performance ever filmed by ACL and never broadcast because of content, has finally been released on DVD, to the delight of fans everywhere.

In the mid ’80s, Kinky rescued a woman being robbed at a midtown Manhattan ATM, and, based on this experience, created the character Kinky Friedman the Detective, who solved murders in what would become a series of wildly popular mystery novels. In the years since, the real Kinky has branched out into children’s books, memoirs, historical reflections and editorials, all to great success, and all powered by his razor sharp wit.

Kinky’s commentaries have appeared in such diverse media as The New York Times, Texas Monthly and Playboy, and since adding politics to his résumé, he has been a regular on cable networks, even stopping by occasionally to spar with Bill O'Reilly.

His books are now read the world over, and his tour schedule reflects this. From Bill Clinton to Billy Bob Thornton to Nelson Mandela, everybody loves a Kinky Friedman mystery. As the ever-humble author likes to say, “I write novels for Americans to read on their aircraft.” Billy Bob is currently working with him on a new book, as is Willie Nelson.

And now, for the first time in almost a generation, folks on the West Coast will get to hear Kinky perform (live!) tunes like “Ride ’Em Jewboy,” “Sold American” and “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.”  And many friends will be there too: Mojo Nixon will join Kinky in San Diego, and Van Dyke Parks has already signed up for L.A.  There’s no telling who else will pop in.  Will there be a Wavy Gravy sighting in San Francisco?

The Go West Young Kinky Tour of 2010:

Mon., July 26 VANCOUVER, BC Biltmore Cabaret
Tues., July 27  SEATTLE, WA Triple Door
Wed., July 28  PORTLAND, OR Roseland Theater
Fri., July 30   SAN FRANCISCO, CA Great American Music Hall
Sat., July 31  LOS ANGELES, CA McCabe’s (2 shows)
Sun., Aug. 1  SAN DIEGO, CA Belly Up, with Mojo Nixon
Tues., Aug. 3 BAKERSFIELD, CA Fishlips
Wed., Aug. 4  SANTA CRUZ, CA Moe’s Alley
Thurs., Aug. 5 SEBASTOPOL, CA North Bay Live at Studio E

Surprise Me Mr. Davis Announce EP & Tour Dates

The often elusive American rock and roll band SURPRISE ME MR. DAVIS, comprised by members Nathan Moore, Brad and Andrew Barr, Marc Friedman and Marco Benevento, have announced an April 13 release for their long-awaited EP, THAT MAN EATS MORNING FOR BREAKFAST. On the same day, the band will commence their first shows of 2010 with a five date Northeast run that begins in Boston, stops in Providence and Albany, and concludes with back to back nights in Brooklyn and New York City. Later in the month, they'll play two late night shows during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  SMMD also plans three dates in the Northwest at the end of June before heading to California for two sets at High Sierra Music Festival.

THAT MAN EATS MORNING FOR BREAKFAST, also known to fans as the "demo sessions," took a circuitous route from seed to market. Nathan Moore explains: "I was on my way with Marc Friedman to Montreal where we were going to record in Brad and Andrew Barr's new studio. Unfortunately, I got turned away at the border. We soon found ourselves back in Burlington, Vermont drinking in a bar. Brett Hughes, a local musician there, was like 'just come into my barn studio and do it.' So Brad and Andrew came down this way and we ended up recording there all week at Brett's house. We got all these tracks done and then we went back into another studio and tried to work them up even bigger, but we started to feel that we were exceeding our initial ideas by trying to make them too big. In the end we reverted back to the original demos. They had the raw spirit and energy we were trying to capture. So now it is finally seeing the light of day."

The seven song EP will be available at all major digital retailers, including iTunes, Amazon and Emusic, while a limited edition CD release will be sold exclusively at the band's shows and through their website.

The track listing for THAT MAN EATS MORNING FOR BREAKFAST is:

1. Roses In Bottles
2. Sissyfuss
3. One Sick Knave
4. I'm No Good At All
5. Emily Green
6. Joelle
7. Home Away From Home

Upcoming tour dates are:

April 13 | Club Passim | Boston, MA
April 14 | Red Square | Albany, NY
April 15 |
Firehouse 13 | Providence, RI
April 16 | Union Hall | Brooklyn, NY
April 17 | Mercury Lounge | New York, NY*
April 24 | Tipitina's French Quarter | New Orleans, LA**
April 30 | Hi Ho Lounge | New Orleans, LA
June 24 | Tractor Tavern | Seattle, WA***
June 25 | Doug Fir Lounge | Portland, OR***
June 26 | Axe & Fiddle | Cottage Grove, OR***
July 1 | High Sierra Music Festival | Quincy, CA
July 4 | High Sierra Music Festival | Quincy, CA
July 6 | Cafe Du Nord | San Francisco, CA
July 7 | Moe's Alley | Santa Cruz, CA

*w/ Yellowbirds
**w/ The Slip & Marco Benevento Trio
***w/ Marco Benevento Trio