The Loneliest Man I Ever Met
Avenue A/Thirty Tigers 2015
Review by David Bowling
Kinky Friedman is an author, animal lover, story teller, tequila expert, and erstwhile candidate for the governor of Texas. What he has not done in the last 39 years is to issue a new album … until now. The Loneliest Man I Ever Met is due to be released in early October.
He has always been known for his social activism and biting political satire, all of which have found their way into his music. Here, he takes a somewhat different journey by recording primarily cover songs. In some ways he has a very personal connection to the chosen material but when I think of Friedman, I want over the top, make fun of the world, in your face songs.
Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” and Merle Haggard’s “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” are heartfelt performances and his take on two songs from the Great American Songbook, “Wand’rin’ Star” and “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” seem to strike a personal chord. Two original songs, “Lady Yesterday” and the title track are more melancholy and pensive than upbeat or even cutting.
Perhaps the best track is the opening “Bloody Mary Morning,” which is an old Willie Nelson tune. He and Nelson duet, creating a stark and weary take on this forgotten country classic.
What is disappointing about this release is that it is less interesting than his early work. He is a complicated person who has the ability to express his views simply but that is not on display here. Nelson, Waits, Cash, and Haggard are all fine, but more Friedman is wanted.
The Loneliest Man I Ever Met” seems like an album Friedman created for himself. It is comprised of songs that are meaningful to him. Whether that passion is communicated to his long-time fans remains to be seen.
In a recent interview he stated that the next one will have more originals. Good idea and hopefully we won’t have to wait another 39 years.