Greg Friedman
Gig Seeker Pro

Greg Friedman

San Diego, California, United States | INDIE

San Diego, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop




"“...this CD stands among the best. It's a gem.” (SD Troubadour)"

Souls of Passing Feet is one of those rare albums that comes along once in a while. It unfolds itself to you, and with each listening you both appreciate and discover more about it. There are a lot of good songwriters, musicians, and arrangers out there, but this CD stands among the best. The songs and arrangements on Friedman's CD are masterfully crafted. Upon first listening I heard shades of Simon and Garfunkel, Harry Nilsson, and the Beatles, but only shades as the CD stands as a unique work unto itself. The songsÑa more appropriate reference might even be piecesÑutilize a diverse array of instruments, often in surprising, subtle combinations, which are always appropriate and fully supportive of the songs. You wouldn't necessarily notice this at first, but with each listening the CD remains at least as rich an experience as the previous one.

The album comes across as acoustic instrument based, a commonality to all the songs, which is partially derived from the variety of acoustic guitars (and other stringed acoustic instruments) used. Even the drums maintain the acoustic sound of wood and a good player's touch. However, you begin to notice fully distorted electric guitars, synthesizer sounds, and keyboards. Part of the appeal, and craftiness, is the variety of ways the various instruments are combined. On a purely textural level, this is delightful. Oftentimes the songs build with layers into the various textures used, and in a few of the songs even unlayer themselves into the ending.

A further display of the CD's mastery are the songs themselves. I found myself looking forward to what would be used as the musical interludes between verses, as they were mini-pieces in themselves; what would be used as a bridge; and what instrument might show itself. Often the ending of one song was a perfect segue into the next, setting up an anticipation for the song to follow while neatly wrapping up the previous song without fully resolving it. Background vocals are used throughout as an additional instrument or even two, many of which contrast as well as complement the lead vocal, and blend with the other instruments as if they were one of them. Friedman's time signature changes in a number of the songs reminded me of John Lennon or David Bowie's tunes, because it's barely noticeable and just seems like part of the song's feel. Each one is different, yet they all belong together on the same CD since they share the same blood line.

I'd like to go into detail of each song, but think it would detract from your own discovery of this album. I highly recommend this CD not only to music lovers but also to students of songwriting and arranging. It's a gem. - San Diego Troubadour

""Good s**t, front to back." (SD City Beat)"

The one-time D.C. punk and current bassist for The Truckee Brothers, Friedman's solo debut is a cleanly constructed departure into the world of indie pop. It's basically a 12-song road trip along routes traveled by Elliott Smith and Evan Dando, with stops in all the standard spots of painful personal exploration and humorous deprecation. Good shit, front to back. MS/gregfriedman. - San Diego City Beat

""Friedman delivers a lot of quality songs on this impressive, thoughtful album" (PopMatters)"

Baltimore resident Greg Friedman is a singer-songwriter. There isn’t much sense in him trying to be something he’s not. Think of him as a cross between Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, and this album suddenly becomes very appealing. Friedman’s songwriting is strong on the tender “Story Street” and equally solid “The Second Thing”, which brings to mind a band like the Grapes of Wrath. The guitar work is also slightly different, sounding more intricate and meticulous thanks to his years studying classical guitar. “Santa Cruz” is a tad Weezer-ish and poppy but still sticks to the musician’s strong points. “Escalator” has that soft, breezy feeling that winds around a pretty Beatles-tinged melody. There are a few average numbers though, including “Hallpass”, which sounds too forced and resembles Jason Mraz. Generally, the album is very good, including the quirky but appealing “Get the Ghost” and the fine yet somewhat mysterious “Impress You”. Friedman delivers a lot of quality songs on this impressive, thoughtful album, concluding with the wistful piano-fuelled waltz of “Fingers Connected”.

- PopMatters

"4 out of 5 stars - " enjoyable ride in every possible way." (WonkaVision Magazine)"

The rambling. Oh man, the rambling! Please, continue the rambling. One of my favorite vices is to find the sprawling works that encompass the gentility of meditation music. Not to say this is all oceans and forest winds, but there is an electric granola crunch with Greg Friedman that provides enough bounce for his occasional introspection. Friedman’s modern-day indie rock jams punctuate a garage band multifariousness with a classic rock vibe. It’s an attitude that is simultaneously pensive and carefree.

Friedman’s melodies always, always work well within his keys, guitar, drum mix to create a pop rock feel straight from Earlimart’s map, and Jurado’s gear box. Moderation in life is essential, and Friedman is able to balance the accusatory chorus (”Santa Cruz”) with humbling steering (”Thumbtack”). “Stranded” pulls out that middle syllable that is at its best when the percussion leads the way. “Souls of Passing Feet” is best at its most rocky points, however. “Hallpass” is a witty, Weezer-esque tribute to Jada Pinkett, whom the narrator went to middle school with and never got to ask out. “She’s so fine, like lightning down my spine.” The song is especially amusing with the back-up echoes of “She’s so fine,” and a keyboard breakdown. Such teenage musings aren’t usually put to a score this good.

Tracks like “The Second Thing” have a sobering solitude, with Jose Gonzales’ penchant for making the words speak louder than the music. It’s really a perfectly constructed pop song that draws in a listener from many angles, rather that be Friedman’s voice, his compelling story, or from the rotating guitar chords. “Story Street” is an excellent track that gives the album its best verses and its title. The album ends with “Fingers Connected,” a lounge piano intro blends into a memorable melody for a great parting shot for the album.

Friedman’s playfulness within the same genre is like a car swerving all over an empty road. It’s still going the same direction, just not the direct route. But Friedman provides an enjoyable ride in every possible way. Rambling around aimlessly just became a lot better with Greg Friedman as the soundtrack. [By: Josh Spilker]

Rating: 4/5
Release Date: January 23, 2007

- Wonka Vision Magazine

""an instant indie classic" (Klaus Flouride - from the Dead Kennedys)"

And an instant indie classic it is. Digging it immensely. - Klaus Flouride (from the Dead Kennedys)

"FM94/9 Recommended Album of the Month"

FM94/9 Recommended Album of the Month - FM94/9

"Album Of The Year nominee"

Greg Friedman's debut album, Souls of Passing Feet, has been nominated for Album of the Year at the 2007 San Diego HAT Awards - 2007 San Diego HAT Awards

"Album Of The Year nominee"

Greg Friedman's debut album, Souls of Passing Feet, has been nominated for Album of the Year at the 2007 San Diego HAT Awards - 2007 San Diego HAT Awards

"Best Pop Album nominee"

Greg Friedman's debut album, Souls of Passing Feet, has been nominated for Best Pop Album at the 2007 San Diego Music Awards - San Diego Music Awards 2007

"Best Pop Album nominee"

Greg Friedman's debut album, Souls of Passing Feet, has been nominated for Best Pop Album at the 2007 San Diego Music Awards - San Diego Music Awards 2007

"“…a force to be reckoned with.”"

Best known as bassist for the Truckee Brothers, Greg Friedman has been a staple of the singer-songwriter circuit for several years now. Always an engaging performer, Friedman’s catchy songs and deft guitar playing have never failed to impress. No problem, of course, for someone with a degree in classical guitar and composition. However even his most ardent fans are going to be surprised by his solo debut album, Souls of Passing Feet.

Setting the bar higher for Southland tunesmiths, Friedman has crafted an excellent album that walks the fine line between pop and rock with ease. The sound is a combination of Nilsson wistfulness and Replacements recklessness, with stops at Elliot Smith sensitivity. It’s highlighted by Friedman’s virtuoso playing on eleven different instruments. And what really sets the album apart is the various song’s arrangements, full of lush vocals and counter melodies.

The obvious attention getting track here is “Hallpass”. Custom-made for our celebrity obsessed world, with references to Friedman’s former school-mate Jada Pinkett, this is a radio- friendly tune with plenty of hooks. It’s a testament to the strength of the material on the album that this song is nowhere near the best. That honor goes to “Santa Cruz”. Sonically reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub, cascading vocals contrast with jagged guitar chords. The song oozes melody, from the inspired syncopated opening to the fuzz guitar chorus.

All twelve tracks have their charms. There is a 60’s vibe to a few tracks, ala late period Kinks, but it’s more the way the songs are composed. While there are no out and out rockers, “Get the Ghost” does pick up the pace. Meanwhile at the opposite end of rhythmic possibility, “Thumbtack”, is a superb melancholy lament, topped off by an inspired vocal arrangement in the song’s bridge.

Within the scope of the Truckee Brothers, Friedman certainly shines. But unleashed on his own he’s proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with.
- SD Music Matters

""writes songs of a disarming charm""

San Diego singer-songwriter Greg Friedman (a member of the Truckee Brothers) writes songs of a disarming charm that only grows each time you listen to his new CD.

With a low-key, almost deadpan delivery, he reminds a bit of what alt-art rockers Cake might have been like if they were an acoustic folk combo. Irony and dark humor abound, but Friedman's singing isn't morose – it's not sunny, either; instead, it's got a kind of neutrality about it, like Paul McCartney's lead vocal on the Beatles' "Blackbird."

Friedman has an attractive singing voice, which makes his relaxed delivery all the more effective at bringing out the little twists and turns of his lyrics.

The dozen songs – all written by Friedman – are built around pleasant melodies. He backs himself with a variety of strummed string instruments (guitar, dobro, banjo) plus accordion and keyboards. A few guests sit in on a track here or there, or provide harmony vocals. So there is a very full sound, yet it stays very clean and straight-forward.
- North County Times

""the same sensitivity and depth of Elliot Smith or Nick Drake""

Greg Friedman is only in his early 30s, but he’s been a professional musician for over half his life. A prodigious guitarist, Greg studied at the Peabody conservatory and had better chops at 17 than many a world-famous guitar god. Once a fixture in the Baltimore/D.C. 80s punk scene, seemingly destined for early fame, Friedman all but vanished into the ether in the mid 90s.

Thankfully, Friedman reemerged a couple of years ago in San Diego, as a bassist for the Truckee Brothers, the popular Southern California rock and roll band (Greg’s stage name is Ott Truckee). When he wasn’t on the road with the Truckees, though, Greg was working on his excellent new solo record, The Souls of Passing Feet, on which he sings and plays very nearly all of the instruments, including guitar, dobro, ukulele, and glockenspiel. The disc features 12 lovingly crafted indie pop songs that showcase Friedman’s instrumental prowess as well as his aptitude at both singing and turning a phrase. Some tunes reveal the same sensitivity and depth of Elliot Smith or Nick Drake; others the wry sense of humor of Ben Lee or Evan Dando. Here’s hoping that The Souls of Passing Feet is just the first of many records from this talented musician, singer, and songwriter.

Key cuts: “Story Street,” “The Second Thing,” “Hallpass,” and “Fingers Connected”

Recommended for fans of: Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, and Evan Dando. - Being There Magazine


Can't Talk Now (2013)
Souls of Passing Feet (2007)



"an instant indie classic" -- Klaus Flouride (of the Dead Kennedys)

4 out of 5 stars - " enjoyable ride in every possible way." -- WonkaVision magazine

Greg Friedman is taller than Prince. He's performed more shows in more venues around the world than Harry Nilsson. And in 2009, he had sold more albums on iTunes than the Beatles.

But surpassing his musical heroes hasn't gone to Friedman's head. He's still too humble to mention the fact that Klaus Flouride from the Dead Kennedy's called his debut album "an instant indie classic". And he's too modest to share the following review that Guitar Player magazine wrote of his newest record, 'Can't Talk Now': "The bouncy, palm-muted clean tones that kick off the opener, 'Melancholy Melody', draw you right in and Friedmans catchy vocal lines keep you there, setting the stage for the power pop that follows. Great guitar moments abound, including rolling fingerpicking, Abbey Road-esque single-note lines, celestial capoing, and 'Wicked Game'-style dreaminess."

For Friedman, 'Can't Talk Now' is an album that celebrates and honors the vinyl records of his past, and so to create it, he commissioned the masterful hand of mastering engineer Greg Calbi (Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Ramones) and the genius of the late cover designer Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin).

Releasing this latest album doesn't make Friedman content to simply let the millions roll in, fly his private jet to his personal Carribean island, and sit on the beach drinking Mai Tai's with little umbrellas in them. Even before 'Can't Talk Now' hit the shelves, he was back in the studio working on new songs for his A-Song-A-Month Club, in which he writes, records and releases a brand-new album quality track every month for free for his fans.

Band Members