David Friedman

Let Me Fly: David Sings His Own Songs
A Different Light: David Sings More
of His Own Songs

Midder Music
David Friedman has a lot to say. And, for years, he has said it in songs that have been sung by many artists. Here, he takes center stage on two discs and the results are must-have albums by one of today’s most respected songwriters. This collection does a wonderful job of preserving newer, most popular and lesser-known works by this master tunesmith. While admitting in his liner notes the joy he has always gotten from the many artists’ interpretations and arrangements of his songs, he sings them here as he meant them to be heard with original arrangements. Sometimes gentle, sometimes probing, always heartfelt, these songs have a way of touching human emotions that are poignant, majestic or laugh-out-loud funny. Friedman has impacted the worlds of cabaret, concerts and musical theater throughout the ‘90s and into the 21st century. Many of his better-known songs became contemporary standards for others like the late Nancy LaMott, who made “Listen to My Heart” a staple. Broadway’s Alix Korey firmly established “My Simple Wish” (aka: “Rich, Famous and Powerful”) as another mainstay with her riotous version of this campy ode to backstage bitterness.

Friedman deftly toots his horn in a gutsy, bodacious baritone—with no apologies for not being a fluent singer. The results are master-class interpretations from an expansive repertoire. There’s much to be said about both albums. “The world will not forget that everyone can fly ...” begins his journey on the first CD with its uplifting title song, which he was asked to write for NASA by the head of a flying acrobatic group after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy. He fearlessly belts out images like, “… Let me break the surly bonds of this gravity I know/Let the fears that have been holding me/finally let me go.”

On the same disc, he revives an even lesser-know gem, “There Is Life” written for the movie Bambi II. Sadly, only a portion of this beauty made the movie’s final cut. It is an overlooked charmer worthy of more attention. As with most of his songs, its roots lie in inspiration: “… the deeper the sorrow, the more our hearts sing … Even when you can’t see it, inside everything there is life.” Diamonds like these make up the body of Friedman's musical images. “The Truth About Christmas” is a gentle nudge that recalls wistful, universal feelings.

Gut-wrenching emotions play a big role in these inspirational messages. Through majestic ballads and silly numbers, a generation of song lovers and show folk have been enthralled by the magic he has created with his songwriting gifts. Through the din of today’s rap songs, talent-less contests and top-40 lists, Friedman has never compromised when it comes to integrity. Both albums are filled with his visions, heartaches, joys and intellect. The duo collection is a treasure trove of words and music rooted in a wise passion for mankind. This is his calling card. And, he shares it on the two discs filled with one common thread: the human heart.

His best cut may be a well-sung title cut on the second CD. It sums up Friedman and the tender place it all emotes from, “A different light can change the way you look at things … Fear turns to relief, joy replaces grief, doubt becomes relief—in a different light.” Sung with passion, Friedman inspires—and trusts the wind.

John Hoglund
Cabaret Scenes
June 1, 2013
www.cabaretscenes.org