Roger Street Friedman – Love Hope Trust
This is Roger’s 4th album & features 12 songs produced by Grammy-winning Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm). On this Friedman explores snapshots of modern living through a sonic scrapbook & travels through a divided world, personal journeys deal with fears, joys, sorrows & concerns that many normal everyday people deal with & can relate to. Friedman appears on the CD looking like the younger seasoned brother of Bob Dylan himself. He has that wise singer-songwriter dipped in experience look that must emit songs of value & pride. And he does.
The 56-minute Love Hope Trust (Drops Nov 4–Playroom Records) is an illuminating set since Roger knows how to make a group of songs come together to resonate as one. Some artists need a groove, a dance step, a funkability, or an accessible drive. Roger relies on every song to tell a story theory — not only through the lyrics but the very essence of the arrangements with instrumental interplay, backing voices & taking pensive pathways. As the PR outlines, he takes the dirt roads of folk & tells country-woven tales.
Roger (vocals/acoustic & electric guitars/piano/bgv) has a touch of the old Cat Stevens in how Cat used to communicate (“I Want Her To Know”) & not always just being able to tap your toe & clap hands. At times Friedman uses backup singers as effectively as Elvis Presley or Bobby Rydell. Vocalists who had expressive exceptional backup vocalists.
What I respect is an artist who believes in the music so much he goes the extra mile & adds real strings. “Thankful For This Day,” is that tune. Arranged by producer Larry Campbell (acoustic/electric/baritone guitars/pedal steel/fiddle/mandolin/cittern/banjo & bgv) with shadings framed in the solid backing excellent voices of Teresa Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, Lev Friedman & Allie Friedman.
With a vocal tone similar to singers like country-era Robert Ellis Orrall, Cat Stevens, Marc Cohn, Greg Copeland & Darryl Braithwaite, Roger is always warmly compelling. Many singer-songwriters have either passed or retired so there’s a “help wanted” sign out for picturesque originals sung with a voice filled with personality & character. Roger Street Friedman answers this ad & qualifies.
The Spanish-flavored “Vapor In the Air,” is ear-caressing. “About You,” has a wonderful acoustic guitar. The song “In the Summertime,” has that gentle balladry sweetness that was a delicate signature of John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful). But with its spray of background voices & Friedman’s pastoral vocal application, it’s magical. “Walls Close In,” skips along in a playful melodic Pogues style.
Highlights – “Love Hope Trust,” “Thankful For This Day,” “Vapor In the Air,” “About You,” “In the Summertime,” “The Ghosts of Sugarland,” “Annabelle,” “I Want Her To Know,” & “Cut Your Losses.”
Musicians – Jim Toscano (drums/percussion), Jason Crosby (piano/Hammond organ/harmonium), Gil Goldstein (accordion), Matthew Schneider (electric/upright basses), Ben Odom & L. Schamell Thompson (background vocals).
16-page lyric insert included. Photo courtesy of Jenny He. CD @ https://www.rogerstreetfriedman.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Roger Street Friedman “Annabelle”