The Americana singer-songwriter Roger Street Friedman has just released “Annabelle,” the second single from his forthcoming album ‘Love Hope Trust,’ out 11/4. A tragic story of a young girl who was steered in the wrong direction, the song features the GRAMMY-winning producer, guitarist and songwriter Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson), who also produced the record.
"’Annabelle’ is based on a story I heard on NPR about a teenager from Mexico who meets a boy that pretends to love her and then tricks her into coming to America with him,” Friedman explains. “When they arrive she is forced into prostitution. She eventually escapes that life, but is not able to go home because of the shame she feels and fear of facing her father… even though all her father wants is to have her home. The song tries to deal with the sadness, the deep psychological trauma and mis-placed shame of this poor, innocent girl who was put in this situation by bad people through no fault of her own."
Furthering a multi-album artistic continuum between Roger and Larry, the 12-song ‘Love Hope Trust’ is a sonic scrapbook that documents a divided world while exploring intimately personal journeys that evince universal truths, sensitively snapshotting moments of modern living. The album also features Jason Crosby (Jackson Browne, Phil Lesh) on keyboards, Teresa Williams and Lucy Kaplansky on background vocals, and a cameo by the legendary Gil Goldstein on accordion.
“This album encompasses a myriad of concerns, fears, joys and sorrows inherent in everyday life in this crazy world from the perspective of age—dare I say maturity—and gratitude,” the Sea Cliff, New York-based artist told American Blues Scene. “I strive to get to emotional truths in my songwriting where people say, ‘oh yeah, I’ve experienced that,’ or just to make people feel something, sadness, joy or longing. That is what makes an album of mine feel successful.”
A critically-acclaimed artist whose work has been featured everywhere from American Songwriter and Consequence to No Depression and The Boot, Roger’s insightful lyrics and empathic perspective reveal the magic in the mundane aspects of everyday living. His songs venture down those dirt roads of folk, country, vintage rock n’ roll, and blues. ‘Love Hope Trust,’ in particular, is inspired by 1970s folk-rock artists such as Cat Stevens and Jackson Browne.
“Making this record with Roger Street Friedman was one of the most fulfilling experiences I've had as a producer,” comments Campbell. “Great songs, well-crafted lyrics and melodies, vibrant performances, and the creative inspiration that sprang from that made it a joy to show up at the studio everyday.”
The material on ‘Love Hope Trust’ was culled from a collection of songs Roger wrote during the pandemic and onward. The title track opens the record with a lone roots-rock shuffle riff played on an acoustic guitar. Then, as if a camera pans to a widescreen shot, the full band enters with a nuanced rhythm section groove, and Larry Campbell’s elegant, rockabilly-esque lead guitar figures, and Jason Crosby’s organ fills weaving in and out. Down the center, Roger’s vocals cut through, rhythmic yet melodic, stating the facts of this frightening time while also dishing out some hope. He sings: Let’s go back to the beginning/Time to pay some rent/all this time we’ve been moving/Hard to believe where we went/Troubled hearts and spinning wheels/Trouble blowin out and in/The butterflies in my stomach/Wonder when this too shall end.
‘Love Hope Trust’ is the fourth installment in a second chance-era of musicality. Roger left music behind for 25 years before resurfacing with his acclaimed 2014 debut, The Waiting Sky. He returned to music after experiencing a series of seismic life changes, including the deaths of his father and mother, marriage and, later, the births of his two children.
Today, with a well-received album catalog, an engaged fanbase, and a lot of road work under his belt, Roger has created a robust and respected artist profile. “I feel like I’m on the right path, and I’m still growing. I think it took me longer to get smart enough to write these songs,” he says with a good-natured laugh. “Now, I get to make up for lost time, and I am really lucky because I don’t have a lack of inspiration—something always comes to me when I sit down with my guitar.”
Stay tuned for continued updates.