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MP3 Andy Friedman & The Other Failures - Live at the Bowery Poetry Club

"A voice and manner that comes off like a more serious Lord Buckley or a beatnik version of Hank Williams’ alter-ego Luke The Drifter.” (Connect Savannah)

11 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Delta Style, COUNTRY: Country Folk

From THE NEW YORKER (2/6 & 2/13/06 issue): Andy Friedman, a visual artist and contributor to this magazine, celebrates the release of his first album, “Live at the Bowery Poetry Club.” Friedman, an erstwhile spoken-word artist who brings projections of his drawings onstage with him, counts the late folksinger Dave Van Ronk among his heroes. Lately he has given in to his passion for country music, singing (in a plainspoken way) with the help of a backing band, the Other Failures, and some shrewd harmonizing.

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“The Johnny Cash of Painting,” the writer Jim Reed tagged Andy Friedman. Onstage, the Brooklyn-based maverick visual artist and songwriter accompanies his original songs with his band, The Other Failures, and projections of his paintings, drawings, and photographs.

Friedman, 31, has been relentlessly touring the nation since 2002, when the artist traded a coveted day job in the Editorial Department at The New Yorker magazine for a life on the road. Critics nationwide quickly dubbed his one-man “slideshow poetry” performance as “the coolest, most interesting show to come around in a long time.” (Good Times) Alone on stage, Friedman accompanied his projections only with a series of spoken lyrics and monologue. By Autumn 2004, the artist learned guitar and began singing his lyrics, forming a band and letting his pictures and songs interact in a countrified, music-art-poetry hybrid he calls “Art Country.”

"Live at the Bowery Poetry Club" is Friedman’s third release but first CD, now available on City Salvage Records, the label and publishing house founded by the artist in 2001. Recorded on the final night of a seven-week run at the eclectic club and poetry venue owned by visionary performance-poet Bob Holman in July 2005, the disc finds this ever-evolving, challenging, and pioneering artist reinterpreting his visual works, poems and “slideshow poetry” monologues from his first two books (2001’s “Drawings & Other Failures” and 2003’s “Future Blues”) and four years on the road as song.

An artist who places the value of meaning over method, the songs on "Live" present an honest writer using his art to grapple with obstacles of creativity, love and wanderlust along the way. In “Things You Can Do For Free,” Friedman sings “There are plenty of things you can do at no cost/Miss a bus or take a walk till your lost.” In “Middletown," the only song on "Live" based on pencil drawings and photos yet to be published, Friedman wrestles with his muse, caught between the urge to experience life as it happens or make art about it. “If a poet spends each rainstorm with a pen and a smoke,” he sings, “he won’t know rainstorm from a hard-boiled egg.”

"Live at the Bowery Poery Club" is an adventurous album by a pioneering thinker and performer who shatters the perceived boundaries that exist between art, music, poetry, performance and life.

--written by ANDY WEST with RONALD T. COSOLETO

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