i happened upon erik friedlander by chance when i heard an interview with him on the radio. a fortuitous event. i dabble in cello and while i enjoy classical cello, i’d been looking for something a bit different. and not like a cd of 50 or so cellos playing renditions of west side story songs – seriously, i had something like that in junior high. at the moment friedlander’s album block ice & propane fits the bill. it’s a beautiful solo cello album. much of it it quiet. quiet enough that i can hear him breathing – i like that. i saw yo-yo ma in concert once and i sat close enough to hear every breath and sigh, it made quite the impression on me.
the compositions are inspired by his childhood family summer road trips, and there is a definite americana feel, as many reviewers have noted, to the songs. the song airstream envy brings images of pa ingalls to mind – if pa played his fiddle next to said airstream rather than covered wagon. cold chicken and rusting in honeysuckle teeter a bit on the edge of the avant-garde and yakima is toe-tapping pretty.
my brother was fortunate enough to hear him play at a small no-name haunt in manhattan a couple of weeks ago. lou reed sat a few chairs over. “did you slyly snap a photo of him?” i asked. “of course not.” my brother responded. of course. i forgot to ask if he took any of friedlander.
so take a listen. the longer i hear the music, my envy creeps up a bit that bobby got to hear him live.