Friday, January 2, 2009

Bootblogging #3: Michael Shannon Friedman

Of much to look forward to in the new year, one good thing is the return to St. Louis of Mountain State songster Michael Shannon Friedman, who made two wonderful records here with Roy Kasten in the 1990s.

Michael will be the guest of honor at a guitar circle on Monday, Feb. 16 at the house of John Eiler (email me for details) and the featured artist at a local gig at The Schlafly Tap Room (1221 Locust) on Wednesday, Feb. 18 that will also include Rough Shop and my band, Three Fried Men (no cover).

You can see that I was the gadfly for these events, because they fall on the two nights I actually have a social life, Monday and Wednesday. Even if you don't have a demanding day job and a spouse and tot, like I do, humor me by coming out one or both of these nights for some good music and fellowship.

I'll be bootblogging some Michael Friedman tunes between now and then, to give him some kind of feeble web presence or at least so my friends can hear his music. Though Roy made fabulously beautiful records for Michael, with some of the best players in town, and though Roy has made and maintained websites for any number of other people, neither of these guys are self-promoters and it's much harder to experience this music than it should be.

I'll start with my three favorites from Michael's debut album, Stories I've Stolen: "I'll fall in love with Lucinda Williams (if I want to)," "Days of '88" and "Elsah, Illinois" (which features double-Grammy-nominated studio genius Adam Long on cello).

You can see from the titles alone that Michael is an exuberant student of songwriting and has tried his hand at just about all of the major tropes: place names, dates, long Dylanesque titles, cheeky name-checking of cultural cult figures. There isn't a trick in the trade he hasn't tried. And when he tells you he has stolen his stories, he is proving himself to be at least one thief who tells the truth. But it works!

Anyway, listen to the music and the language and hear for yourself.

Free mp3s

"I'll fall in love with Lucinda Williams (if I want to)"
"Days of '88"
"Elsah, Illinois"

By Michael Friedman
From Stories I've Stolen
(Perdition Records)
Produced by Roy Kasten

More free mp3s in this series

Bootblogging #1: Three by The Lettuce Heads
Bootblogging #2: Three elegies for local musicians

5 comments:

Roy said...

Two words: Randy Dugan

Confluence City said...

Yes, Randy Dugan does those beautiful vocals on the "Lucinda Williams" piece. It's an oversight that I didn't mention him. Randy is a union steelworker (or autoworker?) who was a fixture at the early guitar circles. I'd love to know where to find him to invite him to the Feb 16 and 18 events.

Anonymous said...

I think Michael Shannon Friedman is a great songwriter and musician,he has a voice that just is so unique and wonderful.He has a voice that can go all the way in the music world and he should ,because his music hits you in a remarkable way that you can't describe,that you just keep wanting to hear more and more.I wish him all the best and i thank him for the music he has given us fans!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me how to get a copy of Michael's CD Cool of the Coming Dark. I went to college in Charleston, WV some 15 years ago and have darn near worn out Stories that I've Stolen. Would love to support his art and buy this newer album. Wish he would put out more. Thanks! prossman@hotmail.com

Poetry Scores said...

Thanks - Michael is getting right on that CD.