Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Tree Bargain

The true spirit of the season: Getting a great deal on a Christmas Tree.

We bought a beautiful 8-foot Silver Tip Tree for less than $45 at Tom's Tree lot -- in Anderson, on North St, between Highway 5 and Stingy Ln. Located next to North Street Espresso at 2780 North St, Anderson.

We've poured champagne, we're listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas Cd on the stereo -- and we're decorating the tree. Well - some of us are decorating -- and some of us are playing Texas Hold 'em.

Not exactly Norman Rockwell, but probably as close as we can hope to get.

Eleven months out of the year, our owl, Drosselmeyer, sits in our entry hall. During December, he watches over the festivities from the top of our Christmas Tree:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Best Gig Ever

It is:
Ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.

Annie, Joe and I spent two hours singing in front of Walmart last year. If you'd like to salvage some solace in the hustle and bustle of Christmas commercialism, this is a humbling way to do so.

We sing and people drop money in the bucket. Maybe if we kept quiet, they would contribute more..... But we REALLY like to sing. It's a blessed two hours -- we spend it being utterly and completely grateful.

Call 222-2207 to schedule a shift.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Shalom. Peace.

Songwriting in Big Sur

A few months ago, Craig and I enjoyed a show at Bernie's -- Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen. Gillette and Mangsen are songwriters of the storytelling, folk tradition - Steve wrote "Darcy Farrow" and a host of other clever, insightful songs.

They're organizing a weekend Songwriting Workshop in Big Sur next March. The price is very reasonable ($125) and the setting couldn't be lovelier. The details are available on their website

Songwriters who are generous with their time and talent -- now THAT'S something to be thankful for.

Here's Darcy Farrow:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Local Gal Makes Good

Last Sunday morning, Max needed a ride into town. In a rare moment of perfect cosmic timing, the drive coincided precisely with Rita Hosking's appearance on KPIG's Please Stand By live music show.

What a treat! Hosking is a superb songwriter - she won the prestigious Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest this year in Sisters, Ore, and the lady has a voice that delivers with amazing style and heart.

She sang a few of her songs, talked about growing up in Shasta County and her upcoming appearance at Bernie's (3086 Bechelli Ln) on December 5th. I'm looking forward to enjoying her tunes in this intimate venue.

More on Rita Hosking at her website. Buy tickets for the show at Bernie's or at the Oaksong Society web page.

Here's Cool Black Water -- from her Silver Stream CD:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kinky Reading

Craig and I rarely read the same books - his tastes run toward crime drama - Carl Hiassen, Robin Cook; I prefer biography, adventure travel and whatever is new from David Sedaris. Lately, though, we've both been in the mood to laugh -- so we've been doing some Kinky Friedman swapping.

No - not THAT kind of swapping. Book swapping.

Kinky Friedman is a novelist, musician, former Texas gubernatorial candidate, a cowboy, and a first-rate storyteller.

He's stayed in the White House, traveled with Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Bob Dylan, worked for the Peace Corps in Borneo. His band, "Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys," have had some pretty wild, irreverent tunes on their playlist, including "They're Not Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

If you're looking for some diversion from the dire economic news, I highly recommend grabbing a Kinky Friedman book - and a cigar, if that's your pleasure - and spend some time laughing with the Last Jewish Cowboy.

From Texas Hold 'Em:

"Through it all, the Jewboys believed that the purpose of art is not merely to reflect a culture but to subvert it. We also believed, just as passionately, that some things are too important to be taken seriously."

Many of his books are available at the Redding Library -- and more of them WILL be available, when Craig and I are done swapping.
Good stuff at the Kinky Friedman website.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Shadow of Shasta

When I travel home from trips down south, I always look forward to the moment Mount Shasta comes into view. It gives me something to focus on, and reminds me that I'm heading in the right direction.

I often write songs while driving -- and The Shadow of Shasta got started while I was cruising north on Highway 5, after some time away.

It's available as a free download this week on our Still Married website.

You can listen to it here:

The Shadow of Shasta
words and music by Erin Friedman

Highway 89
Left The Shadow of Shasta behind
Had a wild streak a mile wide
And the kind of pride
That goes before a fall
Playin’ fast and loose
Left me battered – left me bruised
Pourin’ whiskey on my wounds
When I hit the wall

I’m northward bound -- a hundred miles south of Shasta
Prayers on my mind - Hands on the wheel
If I kneel down In The Shadow of Shasta
Will I rise
Will I fall
Will I heal?

Rough road ahead
Round this mountain of regret
Climbed in from the window ledge
And yet
I’m hangin’ in mid-air
Fire burns below
Cathedral crowned in snow
Beacon to a long-lost soul
Who hopes for tender mercy there

I’m northward bound -- a hundred miles south of Shasta
Prayers on my mind - Hands on the wheel
If I kneel down In The Shadow of Shasta
Will I rise
Will I fall
Will I heal?

It’s a long road
From sorry to Mc Cloud
Where shadows are falling
On sacred stones - sacred ground

I’m northward bound -- a hundred miles south of Shasta
Prayers on my mind - Hands on the wheel
If I kneel down In The Shadow of Shasta
Will I rise
Will I fall
Will I heal?

© Erin Coombs Friedman

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Woof! Woof! - Calling Michael Gaither Fans

Michael Gaither is a Bay Area singer-songwriter - he played at the Post Office a couple months ago with Jim Dyar and they drew a huge crowd. Local folks seemed to really enjoy his down home-style tunes.

Michael's latest CD, Dogspeed, will be released shortly, and he's holding a contest at his website.

Here's the scoop:

"Dogspeed Photo Contest

The "Dogspeed" CD is realistically a month away - I'm listening to the final mix as we speak- and I should have boxes of the things laying around the house sometime in the next few weeks. Since dog people just LOVE showing off their dogs, I thought I'd give you a chance to win a free copy of the record. The rules? Easy. Send me a picture of your dog that I can post on my gallery page. I'll make a list of names and do a random drawing sometime next month."

So send him your pooch pics - michael at michaelgaither dot com -- and visit his website, where you'll enjoy some nice tunes from a very talented songwriter.

Here's our Maggie, adopted from Haven Humane 10 years ago:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pics: Little Filly's CD Release Party

Little Filly's in Palo Cedro serves up some terrific pizza - and a nice selection of beers on tap. Every Saturday evening, they feature live music.

We had a grand time at the venue a few weeks ago -- it was the perfect spot for our CD release party. Our kids and their friends enjoyed it too. And when our Roadies are happy, we're happy.

One of my favorite people, Samantha Jepsen, took these shots at Little Filly's last month.

When our girl, Annie, joins us on fiddle, we feel especially lucky.

What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

You don't spill beer on a violin.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday night -- Diana Wallis at Downtown Eatery and Libations

Friday, November 14, 7-10

Enjoy live music from Cottonwood singer-songwriter Diana Wallis. Diana is sure to bring a smile to your face with her engaging style, original tunes and well-chosen cover songs.

Check out Diana's myspace and give listen -- then come out and enjoy the good eats at Redding's newest hot spot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reminds Me of You

"Reminds Me of You" is a song that was seriously fun to write and always fun to perform for an audience.

Dedications, anyone?

Reminds Me of You

--- words and music by Erin Friedman

Stuck in traffic, suckin’ up fumes
Turn on the TV – there’s nothin but bad news
Big wad of chewing gum stuck to my shoes
Reminds Me of You - Reminds Me of You

The pain in my head from a cheap Chardonnay
Debris in the street from the rodeo parade
Shaving my legs with a dull razor blade
Reminds Me of You -- Reminds Me of You

It’s not the sentimental things
Keep me from forgettin' you
It’s things that stink
Things that slink
Leave an ugly residue

The scum that I scrub from my shower floor
The spider that crawls in under the door
A shiny red apple bad to the core
Reminds Me of You -- Reminds Me of You

A screaming brat, stomping his feet
Cream in my coffee that expired last week
Ooze on the ground where the septic tank leaked
Reminds Me of You -- Reminds Me of You

It’s not the sentimental things
Keep me from forgettin' you
It’s things that stink
Things that slink
Leave an ugly residue

The smell of the breeze by the stockyard in June
A festering toothache, a hot-air balloon
Road kill remains of a mangy raccoon
Reminds Me of You -- Reminds Me of You

© Erin Coombs Friedman
Free downloads of Reminds Me of You are available here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Joan Baez: Happy at last

Today's music industry spits out so-called stars and a rapid clip. How nice to have some of the the old favorites to turn to. Joan Baez is celebrating 50 years as an entertainer with a new CD, Day After Tomorrow.

She reflects on her career in this CNN story:

Legendary singer says she's finally happy

Joan Baez website

Hear some of the new songs on her myspace site.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The morning after

In local election news, I'm happy to see that Missy McArthur will be taking a seat on Redding's City Council. It looks like Philbert, though, may have to make-do with recliner from the Salvation Army.

But mostly, I'm glad it's over. Hope the signs come down and people can come together.

President-elect Barack Obama brilliantly quoted Lincoln last night:

"We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."

Political reporter Joe Klein does a masterful job of summing up Barack Obama's historic victory at

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kitchen Schooling

As far as I'm concerned, there is no better way to spend a gloomy Monday than at home with the kids. We're baking some holiday gifts to tuck into the freezer today -- and Joe keeps me entertained with his guitar.

Helpful hint: If you've recently hosted a Halloween sleepover for a gang of teenage boys, do check the oven for pizza remnants before preheating. Or you can wait for the smoke detector to give you the heads-up.

If you're looking for a new recipe for the holidays, the Double Chocolate Walnut biscotti from Epicurious is yummy and well worth the effort.