fingers and bows

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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.  

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2 thoughts on “fingers and bows

  1. Erik was amazing. His set went from wistful wide-open-spaces Americana to jaw-dropping avant facemelters that lasted about 30 secs apiece.

    Funny guy, too. Told some hilarious anecdotes about working with (of all people) Courtney Love and Hole.

    By the way: the venue is The Stone, run by John Zorn on the Lower East Side.

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