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Roger Street Friedman: In A World of Love Hope Trust

Roger Street Friedman: In A World of Love Hope Trust

Roger Street Friedman: In A World of Love Hope Trust

Meet Americana singer-songwriter Roger Street Friedman — a solo artist on the rise who has just released an absolutely captivating album entited Love Hope Trust.  Produced by Grammy-winning producer, guitarist, and songwriter Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson), Love Hope Trust is filled with superbly memorable songs that will set the imagination in flight.  Fans of troubadours such as Paul Simon and Jackson Browne should really uncover the richly rewarding tapestries found within the auditory world of Roger Street Friedman.  Highwire Daze recently interviewed Roger Street Friedman to find out more about the dynamic compositions found within Love Hope Trust.  Read on…

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Hi and thanks for having me. I’m based in a small town on Long Island, NY called Sea Cliff. It’s a real New England-y feeling village built up on the side of a hill overlooking the Long Island Sound. There are a ton of musicians here and the local scene is vibrant! We have music on Thursday and Friday evenings in parks all summer long as well as a number of great local venues like Still Partners and My Father’s Place at The Metropolitan where we have everyone from local singer/songwriters to nationally touring acts. It’s a great place to be a musician as well as a music lover.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the EP title Love Hope Trust?
I think the overall story is one of trying to find the unity in this crazy, divided time. There are songs about everything from coming together to family to historical topics like “The Ghosts Of Sugarland”, and while they are personal in many ways they all reflect some aspect of life that we can all relate to.

Select two songs from Love Hope Trust and what inspired the lyrics.
The Ghosts of Sugarland” was inspired by a story out of a suburb of Houston named Sugarland, TX. They were breaking ground for a new school building in 2018 when they found human remains. To make a long story short (the full story is in the song), this turned out to be a mass grave with at least 95 sets of remains from a very dark part of southern history… when after the Civil War, laws were written to exploit the loophole in the 13th amendment, to make it easy to arrest and put (mostly) black men back to work as slave laborers. Now widely known as “slavery by another name”, this system was called “convict leasing” and enabled private companies to “lease” convicts from the state for next to nothing. The more I read about it the more upset I became and just had to try and tell their story through this song.

Thankful For This Day” has a much more uplifting message and was inspired by my kids, and my hope for them (and myself) that they remember to really appreciate all they have. I was imagining the day they will leave home and thinking what my one wish for them would be. I think the song answers that question.

What was it like working with producer Larry Campbell, whose impressive credits include the likes of Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Judy Collins, and Willie Nelson?
Working with Larry has been the highlight of my studio work to date. He’s an incredible producer… he pays attention to every detail, has an amazing sense of what each song requires and it always feels (to me) like each song gets exactly what it needs, no more and no less. You’d also think that after having worked with the legends he’s worked with, he might be an intimidating figure in the studio. It’s exactly the opposite. He has an incredibly generous spirit and considers everyone’s input and ideas very carefully, and really helps everyone involved shine and reach their best performances. He’s really a phenomenal person to work with!

Your song Thankful For The Day features an appearance by your daughter Allie. What was it like to record a song with your daughter, and is she involved in a band or solo project?
It was awesome having Allie come down and sing on a few tunes. She’s a natural singer, has an amazing sense of pitch and a vocal tone that is just stunning. She’s just starting out on her musical journey and will be singing in a jazz group during her junior year in high school! I’m hoping she starts writing songs but that hasn’t started…yet.

What could one expect from your live show on the Love Hope Trust Tour?
I think you’ll hear great songs, performed by a crack band (or just me solo acoustic depending on the show). But here’s what one concert host said recently… “We were treated to an éncore-inducing, pulse-racing, and totally-amazing performance tonight by the hard-working and giant-slaying Sea Cliff-peace troubadour Roger Street Friedman. Such an honor to have such a wealth of beautiful music right on our Long Island doorstep. Thanks Roger for raising the bar just that much higher.”

If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
It’s hard to break it down to just one! I would have loved to have opened for Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band at his barn up in Woodstock, NY. He was a legend and the musicianship in that band was off the hook! The Barn has a vibe all its own, owing to all of the amazing musicians that have played there over the years. I’d also really love to open for Jackson Browne…or Shawn Colvin, or Joni or Paul Simon or Lyle Lovett… just a few of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters.

Have you ever played out here in the Los Angeles area and if so, how did the shows go?
Before the pandemic we did a run of full band shows out there! They were awesome and I hope to be back there again.

Prior to your solo work, what other bands or projects were you involved with?
I was out of the music business for about 25 years before life pushed me back into it… so there really is no “prior” to this phase!

Are you currently involved with any other bands or projects outside of your solo project?
Currently really just focused on the solo work… although there are some discussions with friends about other potential projects, there no solid plans!

What’s up next for you?
I’m currently writing again, working on booking more shows and hoping to spend a bunch of time on the road… I believe there are at least a few more albums in me!!

Any final words of wisdom?
Follow your path wherever it leads and keep the faith. Let’s do our best to be kind to each other.

Roger Street Friedman Official Home Page

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