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Album Review

On his second album since he picked up a guitar and began making the transition from an illustrator and cartoonist to a singer/songwriter, Andy Friedman still isn't taking himself or his new profession too seriously, and his music is all the better for it. The title Weary Things signals that much of the material is taken at a loose, easy pace, as if performed during a well-lubricated second set in a nightclub near closing time. And "nightclub" may be too nice a word; Friedman's music, played by a backup band called "the Other Failures" that seems to consist of a revolving cast (six different people are credited for drums on the album, for example), might best be called "roadhouse," a combination of folk, country, blues, rockabilly, R&B, and rock, by turns, intended to be heard in a place where people are drinking hard. Friedman himself (or the persona implied by the first-person lyrics, anyway) may be doing some of that drinking, or may just be reflecting nostalgically on when he could. The basic story of the songs is one about a man who used to be a rover, but has reformed due to marriage and fatherhood, yet longs for the old days and returns to them by hitting the road as a performing musician. Thus, the proceedings begin with "I Miss Being Broken, Lonesome, and Alone," and they conclude with "Friedman Holler," recorded live, in which the artist leaves little doubt about his identity or intentions: "My name is Andy Friedman/I'm from Brooklyn City/I just learned guitar/And my voice ain't pretty." Actually, his voice isn't bad, at least for this kind of music, and he would do well not to bother with so much echo in an attempt to augment it. But he is still at his best when speaking in rhythm, as he does in the lengthy talking blues "Freddy's Backroom," which goes on for eight minutes and could easily go on another eight without losing interest.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Andy Friedman began in the world of art and illustration, and later moved into music. Born in Brooklyn, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A. in painting. He started work in the mailroom of The New Yorker in August 1998 and began slipping his own cartoons in among the submissions; eventually, the magazine started buying them, and they were published under the pseudonym Larry Hat. Friedman built up a career as a freelance illustrator. In the spring of 2002, he left The...
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Weary Things, Andy Friedman
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