Here’s the latest in our occasional series of mini-gigs, opportunities for excellent artists to transmit the energy of a live performance directly into your home. Roger Street Friedman and his band deliver an outstanding final mini-gig of the year and we’re very grateful for the tremendous efforts of all involved.
We begin with the upbeat, uptempo ‘Love Hope Trust’, which features pulsing percussion from Jim Toscano and keys from Jason Crosby. There’s also some dynamic guitar from GRAMMY-winning guitarist and songwriter Larry Campbell, whose work is a highlight throughout this mini-gig. Then we slow things down for ‘Mother and Son’, a heartfelt song notable for super slide guitar and warm, soaring backing vocals from Ben Odom and L. Schamell Thompson. Friedman’s delivery is emotive and characterful in this reflective song. Finally, we finish up with ‘Annabelle’, a gorgeous tune that begins with delicate finger-picking, before melodious guitar adds richness alongside rising backing once again. It’s a strong three-song set with full-band support, filmed by director Jenny He, who captures the atmosphere in the studio in a well-shot and edited video.
If you’re new to Friedman’s work, then this is a fine introduction. All three songs are from the new album, ‘Love Hope Trust’, which is out now and was produced by the award-winning Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Willie Nelson). Campbell says of the experience: “Making this record with Roger Street Friedman was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had as a producer. 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 every day.”
Friedman adds: “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. 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.” The record is particularly influenced by the sound of 1970s-style folk-rock although listeners will also find touches of country, blues, folk and vintage rock ‘n’ roll. It’s his fourth release in a second go in the music industry after 25 years away, a new era that began with 2014’s ‘The Waiting Sky’. Friedman says: “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. 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.” Check out the new album after absorbing this excellent three-song mini-gig.