Andy Friedman

Andy Friedman

BandCountrySinger/Songwriter

Andy Friedman writes “hard tack country originals that bear the mark of a true artist.” (New Yorker) His songs present "weird, potent strains of art-damaged, ragged-but-right country pathology” (LA Weekly) with “a world-weary delivery and talent for synthesizing heartache.” (Nashville Scene)

Biography

His gag cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, but the songs written by “hard scrabble singer-songwriter” (Time Out New York) and “erudite redneck” (Boston Globe) Andy Friedman aren’t written for laughs. "Friedman has a mastery of wordy self-loathing that many white dudes with guitars would kill for," says Nashville Scene. The title track to his 2006 debut studio album, "Taken Man" (City Salvage Records/Rounder Europe), found itself at #30 on the New York Post's "207 Best Songs To Download in 2007.” Other songwriters appearing on the extensive list included Amy Winehouse ("Rehab" #1), Neil Young ("Dirty Old Man" #65), and Bruce Springsteen ("Radio Nowhere" #114).

In January of 2009, Friedman -- "perhaps the truest singer-songwriter in the borough," (Go! Brooklyn) released his second studio album, Weary Things (City Salvage/Kindred Rhythm), which was greeted with enormously enthusiastic critical attention. The New Yorker praised Friedman's "hard-tack" country originals for bearing "the mark of a true artist," while NoDepression.com called Friedman’s writing "unforgettable." Appearances on NPR's coveted Mountain Stage and a feature interview on XM's Bob Edwards Show further solidified Friedman's growing reputation as "a songwriter with an engagingly singular voice," (Philadelphia Inquirer) and a "dusty, paint-splattered Americana sage." (Rochester News & Democrat)

Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor, in a poem written about Friedman's latest work, called Weary Things a "certified, genuine American tune," while Indie-folk icon Sufjan Stevens announced, "I think the world of Andy Friedman. I've always wanted to be Andy Friedman."

In the album’s liner notes, the Pulitzer-nominated author (Jernigan) and former senior arts writer for Newsweek David Gates sets the tone for Weary Things: “What [Friedman] sees through his windshield isn’t Greil Marcus’s Old Weird America, but the weird new America where the pastoral is no longer pure.”

While his songs are anything but funny, Friedman has published over a dozen gag cartoons in The New Yorker under the pseudonym Larry Hat. Friedman, under his own name, is also an internationally recognized, award-winning illustrator, inking portraits of cultural luminaries for literally hundreds of magazines and newspapers worldwide, including recent covers for The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, and The New Republic.

"Andy Friedman has a dark, singular sense of humor,” writes The Nashville Scene. “It serves him well as a cartoonist for the likes of the New Yorker, and it serves him even better as an acerbic singer-songwriter with a world-weary delivery and a talent for synthesizing heartache."

Lyrics

Idaho

Written By: Andy Friedman

I want to get back to Idaho
I want to get back to Colorado
I want to get back to New Mexico
I want to get back
I want to go

Want to go where the desert cools my mind
To the land of the Sinclair gas station sign
I want to go where the road never winds
I want to get back
If I ever get the time

I spent three nights in a cabin in Lake Marie Ronan
Left a torn blue sweatshirt in a diner
Somewhere near Spokane
Let's find our way to Bolinas, honey
If we even can
Drove from Denver straight through to Kansas
And when I got there my left arm was tan

Weary Things

Written By: Andy Friedman

I drank too much last evening
And singing left me sore
My eyes don't feel like looking
It's a quarter after four
My hand it holds my head up
And the table feels too hard
Moon is a memory
Cat is sleeping in the yard

I come to you
You sing to me
We're in love
With all these weary things
These weary things

Yesterday was a tough one
Tomorrow more the same
There's nothing you can do about it
So listen to the rain
Sometimes it gets so lonesome
But we're really not alone
Weary things and a heartbeat
Wherever do I roam

Weary Apology

Written By: Andy Friedman

I just want to shower and go right home
I just want to shower and go right home
When I was a kid I'd knock the cover off the ball
Three times in a game clear over the wall

Every blade of grass was my natural friend
Every blade of grass was my natural friend
There was a willow tree in left and every time the wind blew
The leaves rustled up the tune of The Natural score

I saw a thousand sundowns
In my headphones
At Elm Lake
I haven't been to the lake since
Music's mystery
Been replaced

I just want to shower and go right home
I just want to shower and go right home
When I was a kid I would drive through some sights
The moon lit up all the farms in Nebraska at night
Every quarter mile was my natural friend
Every quarter mile was my natural friend
There was a willow in the mirror Every time the wind blew
The leaves rustled up the tune of The Natural score

I don't have to make a weary apology
I don't have to make a weary apology
I spent a week in a beach house in Aquinnah last June
Took a staircase to a roof deck and a ladder to the moon

Old Pennsylvania

Written By: Andy Friedman

Well, well
Old Pennsylvania, late fall
Well, well
Old Pennsylvania, late fall
Got the heat turned up
So high you can smell the walls

Orange leaves outside
Dry logs along the drive
Orange leaves outside
Dry logs along the drive
Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Playing on the little hi-fi

Mom is taking a nap
Wrapped up in an Aztec sun
Mom is taking a nap
Wrapped up in an Aztec sun
Telephone poles and crows
Black as the night left to come

Got to drive twenty five
Miles just to get some milk
Got to drive twenty five
Miles just to get some milk
No aluminum siding
That’s not the way this house
Was built

Oktoberfest sky opens
The polka band takes a break
Oktoberfest sky opens
The polka band takes a break
Rain beating on the tent
And shooting polka dots on top of the lake

I don’t live there anymore
But I guess from there I’ll always be
I don’t live there anymore
But I guess from there I’ll always be
I got a head full of photos
And a box full of Hemlock trees

Locked Out Of The Building

Written By: Andy Friedman

I'm locked out of the building
Miles from the extra key
The sun's so bright I got to look down to see
I've been looking to do some thinking
Now is as good a time as any to be

Does the sign say entrance
Or does it say en-trance
Nice day's ain't about the weather
Do you care to raindance?
You know some Indians
Don't give their souls to the lens
I never read no good book but I'll tell you how all of them end

When I lose my soul poetry brings it back
If something I said makes you want to chew tobacco
Then maybe you're on vacation
Vacation is a state of mind
Why don't you suck my wasp nest through your vaccum and let me love you when you hit rewind

I pulled out of an entrance in Manchester Square
Some red-faced middle aged woman was standing there
She pointed to the sign and waved both her hands all hell bent
Why'd she need to get so angry when she knew it was an accident

Me and New England could never get it right
There's a little country store five miles past the light
It's more expensive than Brooklyn
Come on, that's not the way it goes
Right blinkers in the fast lane pumping folk out of the stereo

Speaking of New England there's a club called Passim
I thought I'd be a hit there but I guess it ain't my scene
I know all about it
I even met Rick Von Schmidt once
How many other painters know who Rolf Cahn or Debbie Green was

When this song makes me famous will you tear off your clothes
Call my name when I'm onstage and throw me little rainbows
I bet a cameo appearance is just what your screenplay needs
Call my agent when I get one
That is, if she can ever find me

I always thought the balance of life can't be wrong
And just when I do Zou's Taxi rolls along
You know the one ain't what he once was
But he is what he needs to be
Real New Yorkers only love the city when they leave

What song will I die to
Will I drive off the road
Will I just close my eyes and let the super volcano
Send it's best from Wyoming right in the middle of our clambake
Funny how fast the curtain falls
on weary things that take a lifetime to make

Discography

Taken Man (City Salvage Records), 2006
Weary Things (City Salvage Records/Kindred Rhythm) 2009

Set List

72 Minute set, all originals. (Could do 90+, all originals)

1) Probably Shouldn't Call
2) Time For Church
3) Roll On, John Herald
4) Weary Things
5) Locked Out Of The Building
6) Old Pennsylvania
7) One Thing I Want
8) Confusion
9) Road Trippin'
10) I Miss Being Broken, Lowdown, And Alone
11) Self-Portrait In White Knuckle Death Grip
12) Idaho
13) I Don't Want To Die Like Andy Kaufman
14) Taken Man
15) Guys Like Me Don't Get Grants
16) Weary Apology