Mark “Mad Dog” Friedman — harmonica player, artist, poet and bandleader — had planned to tour in 2020. On the road, he would commemorate the night he earned his nickname — a night of drinking too much MD 20/20 wine and howling at the moon in college.
But then the pandemic hit.
He had planned to use gig money from the tour to produce a new album; instead, he applied for several COVID-19 musician relief grants in hopes of gaining some lost revenue. Joe Bonamassa’s Relief Program for Musicians, through Keeping the Blues Alive, gave Friedman $1,000.
“This was enough money to fund a high-quality, do-it-yourself recording project,” he says. “It will pay for the printing of CDs, the studio rental and the mastering.”
The album was recorded in four days at Dog House Music Studios in Lafayette with a “live-in-the-studio sound.”
“We recorded an average of six songs a day,” Friedman explains. “We recorded one to five takes live with the full band for each song and then picked our favorite versions.”
Jenn Cleary, who has played music with Friedman for fourteen years and heads up the Jenn Cleary Band, contributes vocals and guitar on the album.
“I love how Mad Dog invited all these musicians to come together and be creative together,” Cleary says. “He had an image of what he wanted overall, and had certain songs that he thought each musician could be featured on. Yet he included everyone in the process and stayed fluid and open for ideas and changes.”
Read the full story here, including why the song “Hangman” was written!
Khaleel Hayes is a writer and journalist who graduated from MSU Denver in 2018. His body of work includes profiles, film reviews, poetry, short plays and photography.