Title - 'Rise'
Artist - Roger Street Friedman
For those not in the know, Roger Street Friedman is a singer, songwriter and activist based in Sea Cliff, New York, who restarted his music career in 2010 following the loss of his parents and the birth of his daughter.
His critically acclaimed 2017 album, Shoot The Moon, reached #2 on the Roots Music Report Americana Country Album Chart and with Friedman having also garnered acclaim for his debut, The Waiting Sky (2014), the artist who has also shared stages with such venerated artists as Los Lobos and The Blind Boys of Alabama is now back with his third full-length album, the quite stunning Rise (out now via Rock Ridge Music).
1. 'Carry Me'
2. 'Last Train To Babylon'
5. 'Outcasts Of Love'
6. 'Give It Another Go'
7. 'Over And Over'
8. 'The Strange Shape Of Love'
9. 'The War Is Already Over'
10. 'Tough Crowd'
11. 'Runaway Girl'
12. 'Waiting On The Moon'
Produced by Larry Campbell, the GRAMMY winning producer and longtime collaborator of Levon Helm, once again, Friedman conjures his words and expressive thoughts into yet another, at times, autobiographical, always daringly honest, lovingly enriched with cinematically wanderlust, folk-rock, dreamy pop-rock, and progressive Americana and oh-so soulful R&B collection of 12 tracks that will, without a shadow of a doubt, have you finding someone to musically lose yourself within, in these dark times of ours.
Recorded at his home studio in Sea Cliff, NY, Rise - which features the type of honest, vulnerable songwriting that you could only hope to expect from such a well-received, and highly grounded artist such as Friedman - opens with the upbeat, foot-tappin' melodies of 'Carry Me,' and backs that up with the countrified, Randy Newman-esque vocal twang of 'Last Train To Babylon,' the Celtic inspirations of the title track, and 'Lessons,' the gently paced storytelling of a Vietnam veteran still “takin’ fire from Uncle Sam” upon his return.
Next up is the one-two AOR rhythms of 'Outcasts Of Love,' which is backed seamlessly by the beautiful balladeering found within 'Give It Another Go,' the Americana, train-tracked ambiance of a housewife questioning her day-to-day existence within 'Over And Over,' and then both the melodious, wanderlust romance of 'The Strange Shape Of Love' and the reminiscing of one of the stand out tracks for me, the highly emotive, and at times gorgeously cinematic 'The War Is Already Over' (a track about a 1919 post-World War I mission to Siberia).
The album then rounds out with the Jimmy Buffett-imbued 'Tough Crowd,' the passionate, lo-fi proposition of 'Runaway Girl,' and closes on yet another highlight, the dulcetly romantic 'Waiting On The Moon.'
“One thing I know now, after working with Larry on this album, is how important the producer is,” Friedman explains, “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.”
“I think I took a lot more risks with the songs on this album,” Friedman continues. “Not everything has a happy ending. My voice is also way more out front than it’s been on the other records, which feels pretty vulnerable to me. I’m just trying to go deeper, really trying to get to the heart of the matter.”
Recorded with a crew led by Campbell, Rise features Friedman’s rhythm section of Jim Toscano and Matt Schneider, keyboard phenom Jason Crosby (Phil Lesh, John Mclaughlin), Campbell’s wife Teresa Williams, and Lucy Kaplansky on backing vocals.
"I think the creative mission was really to take the songs as far as they could go," Friedman adds, "with some compelling arrangements that highlight the songwriting as much as possible.”
Amazon CD Purchase Link