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North American    Erik Friedlander    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
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Erik Friedlander
Block Ice & Propane: Taking Trips To America
Skipstone

By Stacy Meyn

Published January 14, 2008

Block ice and propane were Friedlander family summer camping trip essentials. So vivid were memories of traipsing across America in a tiny shell perched atop a ’66 Chevy pickup, that the now older and more comfortable Friedlander was compelled to release his road music, composed on cello. Those attuned to the Ry Cooder slide-guitar style á la Paris, Texas might have doubts, but Friedlander decided to bypass slide altogether in favor of plucking strings and alternative tunings. A naturally melancholy, contemplative instrument, the cello would have served perfectly played in the traditional manner, but he evokes banjo and guitar and a decidedly American sound. Harvesting a couple titles from Cormac McCarthy’s Western and post-apocalyptic books, and repeatedly acknowledging Harry Smith’s Anthology Of American Folk Music, Friedlander captures the essence of endless 10th-mile markers, a dodgy propane stove, and the ever-present odor of soggy food at fondly-visited campgrounds and national parks.

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