Robert Burke Warren | Redheaded Friend(Independent)
Robert Burke Warren's first solo album in 16 years is a coming-of-age autobiographical song cycle dedicated in large part to his teenage friendship with Todd Butler, the title character. The two grew up in Atlanta, fatherless for the most part, running around on their own as "Latchkey Refugees," as one song puts it. Interspersing the album with short, spoken-word bits, Warren—who calls Phoenicia home—performs the incisive material live as a one-man show that combines words and music. His pitch-perfect musical memoir, produced by Rosendale-based Grammy winner Dean Jones, works not only as a sensitive tribute to that slightly older friend who opened new worlds to him but also as a musical portrait of their time. If songs variously channel Bowie, Dylan, the Cars, and Joni Mitchell, that's because they were the soundtrack of the multitalented Warren's youth and his creative wellspring.