Track Premiere: Roger Street Friedman “Carry Me (Acoustic)”

Today’s Track Premiere from Roger Street Friedman is an acoustic version of a song from his most recent album ‘Rise‘ (produced by Larry Campbell) which was released in April this year.  This new, acoustic, recording of the song is due to be released tomorrow as a standalone single.

Roger Street Friedman explains how this version of the song came to be: “Carry Me (Acoustic)” is a song about missing your people (“and though you don’t have my hand to hold/you know I feel you in every fold of my  soul”), so with all of our extended families being separated from each other for so many months because of the pandemic, it felt like a good time to revisit this song and also the arrangement.  The idea behind the acoustic version was for it to sound like a bunch of folks playing and singing together in the living room as if we were all together again.  The track was paired down to just acoustic guitars, mandolin, pedal steel, and upright bass, with Larry Campbell’s original electric guitar and fiddle parts replaced with a new acoustic solo guitar that I played as a tribute to his amazing musicianship! I was so psyched with the pared down arrangement, which features Teresa Williams and Lucy Kaplansky’s stellar background vocals as well as Larry’s chunky mandolin rhythm and sublime pedal steel licks.

A native New Yorker, Roger Street Friedman was an enthusiastic musician from a young age but it wasn’t until a series of life-shaping events in quick succession –  his parent’s deaths, his marriage and  the arrival of two children – that he was spurred to do more with this side of his life: which led to the albums ‘The Waiting Sky‘ in 2014 and then in 2017 the follow up ‘Shoot the Moon.‘  With ‘Rise‘ Friedman feels he has really hit his stride “I think the writing’s gotten better, as you’d hope, and one thing I know now, after working with Larry on this album,  is how important the producer is, how recording is so much different than playing live and how important the process is, the vibe –having the right players, how every element has a place and how one thing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if you’re not careful.  And most of all, how important it is to serve the song. It’s a real balancing act, and I learn something every time I write a song or get in a studio.

Photo: Drew Reynolds

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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