Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Case of the Stolen Bass

Tex Ash is a bass player with the California Old Time Fiddlers. A tireless volunteer and dedicated musician, he and his upright bass are a team, gracing the stage at the Western Open and local fiddle jams for years. Some time between Monday and Tuesday of this week, Tex's bass was stolen from his Red Bluff home.

It's valuable, it's unique, it's huge -- and the Nancy Drew in me believes that it would be very difficult for a thief to unload this precious piece of stolen property very easily. Please spread the word to musicians, music stores, pawn shops -- anywhere this instrument might turn up.

Here's a description:
"Stolen from our home at 469 Jackson Street in Red Bluff CA on or
about 28 December 2009
Austrian flat-back 3/4 or 7/8 size, carved top, bass fiddle, circa
1880 Dark mahogany (almost black) finish.
Tomastic steel strings Modern steel adjustable peg with a golfball.
Some varnish scratches on front showing the natural spruce color"
If you have any information please call:
Phone: (530) 527-6127 or (530) 604-4834
Or the Red Bluff Police at (530) 527-3131

For a full-sized picture -- click here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bay Area Songwriting Workshop

Songwriter Steve Seskin (I Think About You, Don't Laugh at Me and many others) is most generous with his insight and experience. A wonderful storyteller, he shares the nuts and bolts of good songwriting with humor and honesty. He, Don Henry and Craig Carothers are presenting a songwriting workshop at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on January 9th.

Worth the trip, I assure you.

More info here: Songwriting Workshop

Thanks to Merle Haggard ....

...we get to hear about Grandma's unfortunate encounter with a reindeer -- over and over and over again.

Songwriter Randy Brooks shares the back story on the novelty song he penned 30 years ago. Inspiration, he says, came from a Haggard song.

Read the story on the Great American Country website.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glad Tidings

Our new Christmas song - Christmas Carol Wishes, tied for second place in the Renee Ashley Baker original Christmas song contest.

From her website: "reminds me of the great duets by June and Johnny and by Dolly and Kenny."

That makes me merry.

Read more and listen to the other winners here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rx: Cinematic Christmas Cheer

It's about this time each year, halfway through Shipping Hell Week (it's actually a Hell-Fortnight), that we prescribe a little R & R for ourselves. It involves champagne and movie-watching. The movie is always the Frank Capra classic It's a Wonderful Life.

It's sappy-but-sweet and we've watched countless times. Craig and I and the kids have committed most of the dialogue to memory - and snippets of it have become part of our family shtick.

"Where's that money, you silly, stupid old fool?!"

My aunt, Carol Coombs, played little Janie Bailey in the film, the piano-playing gal who banged out Hark, the Herald Angels Sing "over and OVER!!!" --'til Jimmy Stewart just about went over the edge. That sort of thing happens at our house, too.

This song was inspired by the movie, and the kind folks over at KLXR AM 1230 had this song to their Christmas playlist for the past couple of years.

It's yours to download for free on our website this week: Click here.

It Was a Wonderful Life

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

Last Spring I left behind a picture perfect family
Then I learned all that glitters is not gold
By September, I was sorry, sad and lonely
It’s Christmas Eve - I’m at the end of my rope

There’s an old movie playin’ on the TV
‘Bout a man who had it all but wanted more
He’s got Clarence – Me? I got Jim Beam
We’re both wishing we’d never been born

It was only black and white
But It Was a Wonderful Life
It used to be mine and I want it back
One more time for Auld Lange Syne
It Was a Wonderful Life
And I want it back

I want to run through the streets of our home town
Find you waitin’ there beside the Christmas tree
Bells are ringing, children singing - I see it all now
I’m home again and an angel gets his wings

It was only black and white
But It Was a Wonderful Life
It used to be mine and I want it back
One more time for Auld Lange Syne
It Was a Wonderful Life
And I want it back

Can we hit rewind – get our happy ending this time?

Make this Christmas dream of mine come true

Listen on YOUTUBE: here

Monday, December 14, 2009

White Chocolate Heaven

I'm baking mountains of goodies this month - shortbread, toffee, biscotti.... But I think these White Chocolate Brownies may be the best thing to come out of my kitchen.

My friend Bob -- loves these. The recipe came about when I had a shortage of eggs and had to tinker with the original recipe. It worked like magic.

Make them for someone you love this Christmas.

White Chocolate Brownies

12 oz White Chocolate Chips

1 cup Butter

3 Eggs

1 cup Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla

1/4 cup Mayonnaise

1 3/4 cup Flour

2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Melt butter and white chocolate chips together in microwave (1-1 1/2 minutes stirring occasionally).
Let it cool (but not harden).
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla and mayonnaise for 5 minutes.
Beat in melted butter/chocolate mixture.
Add flour and stir until well mixed.
Pour batter into a greased 13×9 pan.
Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top of batter.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes (DO NOT OVER BAKE)
Take them out as soon as the center of the brownies is firm.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Indie Music with Shasta County Roots

Singer-songwriter Rita Hosking is originally from Eastern Shasta County. Her voice and her honest songwriting have won her high praise from critics and fans throughout the country. Rita won the prestigious Dave Carter Memorial Songwriter Competition in 2008 and her latest CD, Come Sunrise, has been nominated for a 2010 Independent Music Award.

You can listen and vote at the IMA website: Here
Read more about Rita and purchase her music -- a perfect Christmas gift for the country-folk fan on your list -- at her web site: Rita Hosking
(Photo from Rita Hosking's website.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Carol Wishes

In November, I accepted a songwriting challenge over at the Songwriting Scene blog. I had been wanting to write a new Christmas song, and figured if I committed to it in a public forum, I'd have to actually deliver.

And Lo! - a Christmas miracle has indeed taken place - I finished it and recorded it before the deadline. The song is dedicated to our nation's military personnel, stationed far from home, and to the families who miss them.

Christmas Carol Wishes
words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

Wish you could see the first snowfall
The lights upon the tree
But we’ll miss you most of all
When we gather round to sing
The First Noel and Silver Bells
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
You’re in our prayers
And Christmas Carol wishes

This Christmastime
We wish you a Silent Night
Angels on High
A midnight clear and bright
These Christmas Carol Wishes
Are sent with all our love
Hoping next year you’ll be here
To sing with us

Joy to the World - Auld Lange Syne
Faithful friends to gather round
O Holy Night Divine
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
May you find comfort and joy
In yuletide melodies
And when your day is done
A heavenly peace

This Christmastime
We wish you a Silent Night
Angels on High
A Midnight Clear and bright
These Christmas Carol Wishes
Are sent with all our love
Hoping next year you’ll be here
To sing with us

You Tube Link: Christmas Carol Wishes

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Friday Fundraiser

Dairrien Call is a Redding teenager facing serious surgery in a few weeks, and friends have organized a fundraiser for the family to help defray some of the travel and family expenses.

A Spaghetti Dinner - suggested donation of $4 each.
Church of the Redeemer
844 Butte Street
December 4th From 5pm-7pm

For those who would like to help in other ways, there will also be a donation basket for cash donations or gift cards and a bake sale.

Read more about Dairrien and his Mom at THIS WEBSITE.

Read the Record Searchlight story here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Raise your's OK....really

Handel's Messiah -- still relevant 250 years after the composer's death. A nice treat in this month's Smithsonian - an article on Handel and his beloved composition.

The Messiah was written for Easter, but it's become a Christmas tradition. The Shasta Symphony and master choir will be performing - and inviting the audience to sing-along -- on December 4th at 7:30 PM at The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, 4075 Riverside Ave, in Anderson.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tree Time

Great deals on Christmas trees in Anderson:

On North St, between Highway 5 and Stingy Ln. Located next to North Street Espresso at 2780 North St, Anderson.

Nice folks and the trees are lovely and very reasonably priced.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Songwriter Night Downtown

Head to The Downtown Eatery this Wednesday, December 2nd, for their monthly Singer Songwriter Showcase and Open Mic. Music gets underway at 7 PM, hosted by singer-songwriter Phil Paige.

At 9 PM, my dear friend Nick Ciampi will be the featured artist, and he'll play a set of his original tunes. A little Dylan-esque and completely dedicated to sharing his passion for music, Nick is a local treasure. Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happenings on Hilltop

Last week a charming furniture consignment store opened up in the space recently vacated by Rustic Charms.

FINDERS KEEPERS, at 2235 Hilltop Drive, is operated by Amanda Sinyard, who is loving her new, spacious location - she moved her store from a smaller spot on Bechelli Lane.

Amanda's offering lovely vintage pieces -- used and on consignment - at very reasonable prices.

Email Amanda or call 530-605-0877

One of these days I'm actually going to furnish our bedroom - and I'll do it in Nouveau Secondhand Style.

Also happening on Hilltop Drive in December:
Holidays on Hilltop --- hayrides, carolers and more. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cross-under Artist: Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett talks songwriting, songwriters and ponies:

At: Country Standard Time

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?

For years I thought I was too busy in December to volunteer as a Salvation Army Bell ringer. Our family runs a mailing and shipping business (Wrap-N-Pack) and December is sheer madness for us. I promised myself I'd volunteer as a bell ringer when Christmastime was less hectic.

Then a couple years ago I ran into Chic Miller of Bella Vista Farms outside of the Holiday market. She was there with one of her precious donkeys, ringing a bell to raise money for the Salvation Army. Chic runs an incredible operation - a rescue farm filled with animals who require her care and feeding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If she can find two hours to volunteer, then anyone can. So we gave it a try, my kids and I. We ring the bell, we sing and we are humbled and amazed for the entire shift. People who look as though they have nothing at all to give will scrounge their pockets for change. Mamas teach their children about charity and encourage their little ones to drop money in the kettle. Everyone smiles.

It's a blessed two hours -- we spend it being utterly and completely grateful.

In Redding, call 530-222-2207 to schedule a shift.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Shalom. Peace.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Groucho and Lydia

Proof that great songwriting is timeless: Lydia the Tatooed Lady, written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.

Harburg and Arlen are most famous for writing The Wizard of Oz score - but I love Groucho doing this lyrical masterpiece.

And I love that Harburg's nickname, "Yipsel," is yiddish for squirrel. Read more at the Songwriters Hall of Fame website. Enjoy this:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hoping to Help A Family in Need

Yesterday there was a long discussion over at A News Cafe about how generous the North State community is, and I'm hoping folks will chip in -- even just a little bit -- to help this family. Times are hard everywhere, but Misty Call's request for help especially tugs at my heart.

Misty is a single mom of three boys - homeschooling them and dealing with some difficult health issues. Her oldest son, Dairrien, was born with birth defects and he is headed for a complicated surgery and lengthy stay at Shriner's Hospital at the end of next month.

Misty is hoping to raise money to help pay expenses associated with his hospital stay and care for her middle child while she and her two other boys are away. You can read her story and donate here: Help with Son's Surgery

If you are more comfortable sending donations privately, please email Misty and she will give you a mailing address.

Many thanks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lovett on Songwriting

"Writin' songs is like a mystery," says Lyle Lovett in an American Songwriter interview.

I have to agree.

Lovett is one my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, and you can read more about his philosophy and insights at American Songwriter.

Friday, October 30, 2009

San Jose Hideaway

When our kids were young, we lived in San Jose. We used to take our munchkins to a city park that butted up against an old estate. We could peer through an ancient hedge and see a huge, decrepit old mansion - abandoned, spooky, mysterious.

In the 90s, the property was purchased -- The Historic Hayes Mansion -- it was renovated and transformed into a hotel, restaurant and convention center.

It sits smack in the middle of a thriving suburban San Jose neighborhood, and it's magnificent. Craig and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a romantic dinner there in 1995. Two years ago, my sister was married there in an intimate family ceremony. When my sisters and I get together, Cosmos at The Hayes, in front of the fireplace, are a mandatory part of the weekend.

If you find yourself in the South Bay, put The Hayes Mansion on your list of Off-The-Beaten-Path places to visit. Read more here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pine Dogz at The Post Office Tonight

Husband and wife duo Steve and Diana Wallis -- PINE DOGZ -- will be at The Post Office in the Downtown Mall tonight. They play a fun variety of folksy-rockin'-blues, with some nice originals tossed into the mix. Music and fun start at 6:30.

From their website: "Pine Dogz do more than howl at the moon. Transplanted to the North State from the S.F. Bay Area, Pine Dogz perform cover tunes and original music that’s a little bit folk, a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and a lot of heart and soul. "

Listen to the Pine Dogz here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Creative Inspiration

Love this quote from Charles Jones:

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

Read the entire article by Dustin Reichmann at:

My Super-Charged Life - 7 awesome ways to find your creative inspiration,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Smart Aleck Comment of the Week

Max came into the living room when Craig and I were enjoying a rare moment of of silence.

Max: "Why aren't you guys talking? Why aren't you playing music? Are you getting a divorce?! Which one of you is packing up and moving to L.A. ? - cuz' that's who I'm siding with."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Coffee

How do you get Happy Coffee?

Make this scrumptious Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti, dip it in your coffee and share it with someone you love.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti from epicurious

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spinning Straw into Gold

That is part of a songwriter's job description.

This song grew out of a casual conversation with a songwriting buddy who bet I couldn't guess his middle name. It turned into a song I enjoy singing and one of our most popular downloads, though I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because it's short?

Craig gives me a skeptical, sideways glance every time I sing the line: "Riches spun from a sheaf of honest goods."

"Sheaf? Nobody says "sheaf."

"I do. It's my song and I'll say "sheaf" if I want to."

So there.

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

I was born a miller’s daughter
Pressed into the pages of a fairy tale
No minstrel- I’m not free to wander
Beyond the reaches of this spinnin’ carousel


With these simple gifts of heart and soul
I will toil on my own
Spinning my straw into gold
Spinning, spinning
Spinning my straw into gold

I will take my pay in pleasure
Strike no desperate bargain in the woods
A truth – well-told is mine to treasure
Riches spun from a sheaf of honest goods

With these simple gifts of heart and soul
I will toil on my own
Spinning my straw into gold
Spinning, spinning
Spinning my straw into gold

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nanci Griffith: On songwriting

Still writing, touring and connecting with audiences -- Nanci Griffith, 56, talks about her calling in this interview on The Hour Online:

Nanci Griffith

Craig and I love to sing this Griffith tune, Gulf Coast Highway:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saturday in the Mall

The Mount Shasta Mall will be crawling with artists this Saturday --- the Shasta County Arts Council presents ARTsMART. Enjoy demonstrations, entertainment and get some early Christmas shopping done AND support our local arts community.

Craig and I are looking forward to playing our original tunes on the Macy's stage from 4:30 - 6. But if you're one of those people for whom the phrase "original country folk music" evokes a flight-or-fight response, fear not. The other options for your listening pleasure include:

The Doug Godwin Band
The Phil Seymour Band
Celtic Harp
The Shasta Blues Society bands and more -- you can read the details and the schedule at the ARTS Council website.

We're looking forward to including a few new tunes on our playlist and we'll be doing this song - one of our favorites to perform live. And yes, we often stand in our backyard with our guitars - usually when our kids lock us out of the house.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How success spoiled Hallelujah

Too many versions of the song Hallelujah have songwriter Leonard Cohen pleading for mercy. Those royalty checks, though, are probably coming in handy....

Read the story on

Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rosanne Cash on Songwriting:

Me and Rosanne Cash:

"Right after wife and mother, I am a songwriter," says she. Read more of this enlightening interview with Rosanne Cash:

Sound Affects

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making progress instead of excuses

We really are planning to release a new CD before Christmas, but recording has gone much slower than we hoped.

We're putting in a lot of hours at Wrap-N-Pack, which doesn't leave a great deal of time and energy for the fun things. Add to that: a house full of kids who have busy lives and require attention and care, and we have a dose of excuses for not making more progress on our next CD.

But I'm through with excuses, and now that we've got a CD title - Storms and Blessed Burdens -- I'm ready to plow full-speed ahead.

We're recording 10 songs - one Stephen Foster cover and nine originals. This will be one of them:

A Stupid Woman
words and music © Erin Friedman

I tried to overlook your faults
I tried to make this work
Some guys are worth the trouble they cause
And sometimes a jerk is just a jerk
I’ll resurrect an old cliche
“It’s not you, it’s me”
We’re incompatible as night and day
Cuz I’m not the kind of woman you need


What you need is A Stupid Woman
High heels and a low IQ
Nobody but A Stupid Woman
Would put up with the likes of you
A buxom doll with legs up to here
Nothin’ at all between the ears
Dumber than dirt and eager to please
A Stupid Woman is what you need

Your lame jokes will be just her speed
Drone on - she won't care
Your dream girl comes complete
With open arms and a vacant stare
It’s easy to fool a bulb that dim
She’ll fall for all your lines
“Business meetings last til 2 AM”
“Sixty seconds is a good long time.”

I’ll step aside, you be my gift
To the world’s brainless twits
The Bimbo Brigade is welcome to you
Dumb bunnies need love, too

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Little Love from Ireland

Found this very sweet entry on our website guestbook - it refers to a song I wrote: "The Turf o' Tullamore."

"I was casually browsing youtube references to my hometown when I came across the Turf o' Tullamore. Just about every major town in Ireland has had a signature song except Tullamore - until now! It was worth waiting for - truly exceptional. Thanks guys. "

The Internet has given us the opportunity to casually reach all the way around the world -- from Shasta County back to where my mother's family came from more than a hundred years ago. Marvelous and mind-boggling.

This song tells a bit of the story of my great-great grandfather, George Convy, who brought a piece of the old country with him when he emigrated from Tullamore, Ireland, to St Louis, MO.

The Turf o' Tullamore
words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

Into the West – land of the free
In freedom will I e’er a stranger be
So up the stairs I climb
Open up the trunk and find
The piece of home I carried ‘cross the sea


Weeping o’er The Turf o’ Tullamore
Exiles both – the Irish sod and I
The Turf o’ Tullamore
Will know my bones forevermore
Sweeten my grave when I
Lay down to die

For my sons, I made a pledge
They’ll not beg the Crown for daily bread
There’s days I understand
The promise in this promised land
And days I fill my glass with my regrets


When I take my final rest
Lay the Turf o’ Tullamore upon my breast
And it’s sweet - the dream I’ll dream
Home to Erin’s fields of green
By the Shannon’s holy waters, I’ll be blessed


Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Grinding out songs nobody wanted"

Kris Kristofferson is a songwriter's songwriter - a brilliant poet with a charming backstory that's legend in songwriting circles. Songwriters do dearly love their fairytales -- success stories that follow years of frustration and hard work.

In this video from, he talks about his history in Nashville, his friend Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin's recording of Bobby McGee. The 73-year-old singer/songwriter/actor/activist will be on tour this winter and his new CD, "Closer to the Bone," is slated for release this week. Aging gracefully, indeed.

ABC video.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

For Word Lovers

Annie fairly bounced out of the library bookstore wearing a big grin. "The Devil's Dictionary! For a dollar! I've been looking for this."

I had no idea what she was talking about. Annie is our family literature fiend, with hundreds of books packed into her little bedroom. She explained that The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce, is a sarcastic, witty collection of word definitions, like this:

battle: n. A method of untying with the teeth of a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.

egotist: n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

It's a delicious, irreverent read and because it's no longer covered by copyright law, the entire thing is available online at: The Devil's Dictionary.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Art Reception: September 24

We've played a couple of times at Redding's City Hall. The sound bounces around the halls in horribly convoluted ways, but it's a venue I absolutely love -- because everyone is welcome and the entire community is invited and encouraged to celebrate the arts and local artists. It seems to me the perfect spot for sharing our original songs, songs that celebrate Shasta County's unique landscape and characters.
We are looking forward to Thursday's Art reception - where several local artists and the Shasta College Floral department will be showing their work. We'll be playing our tunes from 5 - 7 PM.

And since we work in words and music and not marble slabs, we get to re-tool songs every now and then. We're debuting a new and improved version of our song: "A Kiss Beneath the Sundial Bridge," and our Twitter followers and our blog readers will receive a Sundial Bridge postcard AND a kiss -- just by mentioning they read about the offer here. While supplies last, of course.

Hope to see you on Thursday evening.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers

Loved her - loved the Peter, Paul and Mary story -- a carefully crafted sound that endured. We are not big concert goers - but we thoroughly enjoyed Peter, Paul and Mary several times and always felt they gave a show that was inspiring and worth every penny.

Obituary here: Mary Travers

We'll sing John Denver's "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" tonight - though not as sweetly as she did.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pine Dogz at The Post Office

If you're out and about in Downtown Redding tonight, stop by The Post Office for some original tunes and lovely covers from Pine Dogz.

Singer-songwriter Diana Wallis and her husband Steve are Pine Dogz - good, talented folks who love what they do. Diana and I have done some co-writing together and if you enjoy bluesy-rock you will enjoy their set tonight at this friendly venue.

Pine Dogz 8:30 - 11 PM
September 12th
The Post Office
Redding's Downtown Mall

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pretty, Pretty Hard Times

Craig and I are working on Stephen Foster's Hard Times for our next CD -- trying to find our voices on it, figure out exactly how we want to sing it.

Found this exquisite version on YOUTUBE - featuring Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, and other angelic voices. Turn it up. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Songwriting Challenge

Two weeks ago I accepted a fun songwriting challenge from songwriter-blogger Sharon Goldman -- write a song using the title of a book. I had a million other things going on in my life, but I was happy to have a good reason to concentrate on songwriting. I hadn't written anything new for awhile, so I committed to giving it my best shot.

I chose "The Hour of the Outlaw" - a charming piece of historical fiction (with a lovely, lyrical title) by Maiya Williams. The song is my own historical fiction: a local legend woven with a little bit of mystery.

(The song is 4:11 -- for some reason Windows Movie Maker thinks it's 6:20 - I'm too tired to figure out what caused the discrepancy.)

The Hour of the Outlaw
words and music © Erin Friedman

He checked his pocket watch and he pulled his hat down low
Crouched in shadowed canyon beside the stagecoach road
Stood ready with his shotgun and when the stage arrived
Shot the guard and stole the gold and proved his daddy right


The Hour of the Outlaw
Seconds beat like a drum
The Hour of the Outlaw
The countdown has begun

His daddy was a scoundrel, a gambler and a thief
Took a bullet in his back for the aces up his sleeve
Before he died he said, “Son, outlaw blood runs through your veins
And all I got to leave you is this pocket watch and chain”

The Outlaw of the stagecoach trail could not out run his fate
Time had come for justice and justice would not wait
An angry mob rode out to Whiskey Creek and tracked him down
Left him swinging like a pendulum from the highest tree in town

The treasure still lies buried on the banks of Whiskey Creek
Many men have searched - and failed fortunately
But when the time is right some unsuspecting soul
Will dig up a cursed pocket watch and strongbox full of gold

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vintage Woody Guthrie Re-discovered

­Rounder Records has released a 54-track boxed set of lost-and-then-found Woody Guthrie recordings: "My Dusty Road."

Read the story and listen to some clips at the Wall Street Journal website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Riding in the Car with Dylan?

If a Seger song can turn up in a Chevy commercial, why not Bob Dylan as your car navigator's voice?

Read it here: Bob Dylan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Talk Back To It"

At songwriting camp, Mary Gauthier explains that all songwriters have a Monster Voice - a discouraging, mocking internal critic. Successful songwriters, she says, have learned to talk back to it.

Read more about Gauthier's class at the Rocky Mountain Song School in this piece by Jessie Torrisi at the LA Times website.

A little closer to home (The SF Bay Area), the West Coast Songwriter conference is coming up in September. They offer discounted registration fees to North State Songwriter members. For detail go to their website:

West Coast Songwriters

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When the well runs dry

I was on a roll for awhile and busily churning out songs. But I haven't written anything new for a couple of weeks (I don't count commercial jingles) and I always get antsy at this point.

IS there another song out there -- will it show itself? Please?

Usually a change of scenery will get the creative juices flowing again -- hiking a new trail, setting out in unfamiliar surroundings -- seems to shock the system into producing something worth working on. At least it has in the past. But I'm curious how other people deal with these dry spells.

A question for you Artist-Creative Types: What do you do when you can't muster any creative thoughts? How do you recharge your artistic batteries?

The Sacramento River Trail has always been good to me, so I'll be heading out there this week. That's where I found this song, "River Whispers," last year:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And speaking of Cindy Walker

Here's Willie Nelson performing Walker's lovely: You Don't Know Me.

Songwriter Bequest

Hit songwriter Cindy Walker's legacy goes to the Country Music Hall of Fame - great story here:
Cindy Walker Leaves Songs

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why boys don't get pedicures

My sister took me to a swanky spa to get my first-ever professional pedicure. It was heavenly. I was explaining to Joe, my 13-year-old, how luxurious it was:

Me: You're wrapped in a soft robe and they put a warm towel around your shoulders, then you lean back in a cozy armchair and they put a lavender pillow over your eyes...

Joe: Your eyes are covered?

Me: Yes.

Joe: MOM!! -- Do you know how easy it would be for them to just slit your throat?!

Gee, no.

I hadn't considered the possibility of a sneak attack - but I sure will now.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Potluck Season: Texas Sheet Cake

We're gathering for our 9th annual Neighborhood Block Party tonight. We always look forward to gabbing with the neighbors and meeting the newcomers. I'll be baking two Texas Sheet Cakes - one with nuts, one without -- because that's what I've brought to the party for 9 years. Both cakes usually disappear pretty quickly, and I would probably be shot if I didn't bring them.

The recipe I use - easy, quick and yummy - is from ALLRECIPES.COM:

Texas Sheet Cake

Acck, I posted the wrong link! But I made the above recipe today - it was just as good as the one I usually use.

Here's my traditional recipe - only slightly different from the one above.

The Other Texas Sheet Cake

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cheers! to ANEWSCAFE

The fine folks - Doni, Kelly, Phil, Steve and Jim -- at are celebrating an anniversary.

I'd like to dedicate this song to all the folks there who have landed so gracefully and work hard to provide the North State with a fine, friendly place to hang out. Many thanks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cash on Songwriting

Hit songwriter Rosanne Cash offers some wise words on songwriting:

A songwriter first

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Woodstock: Still Married, too

I was busy planning my 9th birthday party when the music-loving masses converged on the other side of the country for Woodstock in 1969.

August 15th marks the 40th anniversary of the historic festival, and there's a sweet story in Smithsonian about the couple whose embrace was captured on film by photographer Burk Uzzle.

They are still married - 38 years. Read the story here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do you love food? Read this.

I spent the last few days in the lap of luxury -- being spoiled by family and friends down in LA. Amazing food (corn risotto, grilled vegetable and goat cheese salad, heirloom tomatoes in pesto vinaigrette, maple-glazed cedar plank salmon and more -- too much more) and good times. Lots of good times.

On my bedside table at my sister Kate's house was a Godiva chocolate bar and the book I'd sent her for her birthday: "A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table" by Molly Wizenberg. Wizenberg has penned a lovely memoir of family and food. She's a funny, honest writer, and she conveys her love of all things delicious with a heartfelt passion that's addicting. Each chapter focuses on a poignant story from the author's life and concludes with a mouth-watering recipe. I devoured the book -- can't wait to try every recipe

Lucky for all of us, Wizenberg writes a food blog -- Orangette -- and it's just as tasty as the book. Prepare to get hungry and click here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You Say "Tomayto"

I say "Wow!"

We've gardened for many years (well....Craig has gardened -- I cheerlead) but we've never had such a bumper crop. Maybe we've finally got the bone-meal, watering, and weeding thing down. Or maybe this summer's weather has just been too perfect.

Whatever. We are enjoying bruschetta, salsa, gazpacho, fresh marinara sauce, simple tomato, basil and olive oil salads.

Some of them are huge like this monstrosity:

Some of them are just....well....odd.

Like this one:

It needs a caption, but I don't trust myself.

Here's a Quinoa Salad recipe that I love to make all summer - it keeps in the fridge for days:

Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil -- I like Pacific Sun or Olio Olinda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (no need to cook first)

Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is soft. Add the remaining ingredients and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wizard Rock

How'd I miss this phenomenon? Bands and music inspired by the world of Harry Potter.

Read all about in a story by Lev Grossman in this week's TIME:


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sacred Heart Secondhand Store

Since we'll be playing at the American Cancer Discovery Shop tonight, I thought I'd repost this from last year:

I believe in do-overs. Second chances. Making something new from something old -- redemption in the broadest sense of the word.

Maybe it's just a pragmatic, peri-menopausal coping mechanism, but finding utility in seemingly useless items lifts me up, gives me hope.

I'm a big fan of church rummage sales, garage sales and consignment houses. When I came across The Sacred Heart Thrift Store in Anderson, I decided that it was almost the perfect title for a song.

Almost perfect. But it didn't quite have the lyrical lilt that makes it musical. So I flashed my Poetic License and made a minor change:

Ah, that's better -- now it works.

I recycled the melody for the verses from a very old Scottish tune -- Child Ballad 173: Mary Hamilton. I used to love Joan Baez's rendition - I listened to it over and over on my father's monstrous reel-to-reel tape player.

My-oh-my... technology has come a long way. Just finished recording and mixing this song on a digital workstation the size of a corned beef brisket:

The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store
words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman
Buy, sell or trade
Find you some hand-me-down faith
The cast-offs are saved
In the name of the Lord
At The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store

The neon sign flickers to life
The second time she flips the switch
The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store
Is in good hands
Weekdays from 10 until 6
The demons she wrestled
Are all kept at bay
By the spirit that blessed her
With the power of grace

Buy, sell or trade
Find you some hand-me-down faith
The cast-offs are saved
In the name of the Lord
At The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store

She’ll wipe dust from the Lladro Madonna
Polish the gold wedding bands
Here among the unwashed and unwanted
She’s the angel of One More Last Chance
Hers came by the river
Where she lay in the dark
Was gently delivered
Into His Sacred Heart
Buy, sell or trade
Find you some hand-me-down faith
The cast-offs are saved
In the name of the Lord
At The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store

Friday, July 10, 2009

Songwriter's Revenge

Songwriter Dave Carroll turns frustration into Youtube hits - gotta love that Lemons-into-Lemonade attitude:

United Breaks Guitars

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Songwriting Marathon

Not sure I'm up for this particular grueling challenge - but I love the idea of pushing myself as a writer:

50 songs in 90 days. Read more:


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Saint Nick

(Photo by Wyatt Olson)

Nick Ciampi is the reason Craig and I are Still Married.

Some people come into your life and stir the pot, rearrange things a little bit. Some people arrive bearing gifts that turn your whole world completely on its ear. Nick Ciampi stepped into my life -- with his guitar and his grin -- and changed everything.

Since I was a kid, I'd written songs. But I never had the courage to sing them for an audience until Nick -- singer, songwriter, motivational guru -- told me I had to.

"Just do it," he said.

"But I'm afraid"

"Do it anyway."

"I don't want to." I lied.

"You HAVE to."

So I did - because he held my trembling hand every step of the way and because I believed him.

Nick shared his gifts with Craig -- and told Craig that he should learn to play bass guitar, and Nick explained to us (patiently) what a bass actually was and gave Craig his first lessons. Nick helped me find a whole new voice - in more ways than one - and he encouraged our kids to play piano, mandolin and to write music.

There was a moment shortly after I met Nick, when we were talking about songwriting, and it dawned on me that my life was rapidly moving in an entirely new and frightening direction, and there was absolutely no turning back. I was stepping off into the great unknown because I believed in this long-haired, guitar-playing, hippie Saint Nick. I believed in him because he shared his gifts so generously - his time, his patience, his experience and his passionate commitment to music.

Happy Birthday, Nick - heartfelt thanks to you for all you've brought to our lives.

Friday, July 3, 2009

At 74 - Peggy Seeger is Still Singing

Growing older should always go like this - from the Kennebec Journal:

Peggy Seeger

Monday, June 29, 2009

What do you call the songwriter's over-flowing trash can? Progress

Singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman (Killing Me Softly) talks about the hows and whys of songwriting at Her advice: "Write, write, write. For every good piece there will be a hundred in the trash. "

Read the whole interview here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just Plain Folks - Just Plain Amazing Chuck McCabe

Chuck McCabe's album Creatures of Habit in a World of Change, featuring the song "I'd Rather Be in Redding," is a nominee in the Just Plain Folks music contest. There are 10 nominees in the New Folk category - and Chuck's in good company. Janis Ian is also nominated.

Just how competitive is the JPF contest? Very, very competitive. 42,000 CDs were entered. It is "the largest music awards of any kind in world history."

Congratulations to Chuck -- way to go!

You can buy Chuck's albums at CDBaby.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eggs Benedict, it's not

Every morning, I head down our long driveway to fetch the newspaper with Maggie. While we're gone, Craig fixes breakfast for us. Maggie gets a dog biscuit.

This is what I get:

"It's good for you," Craig promises.

For what it's worth, he does serve my vitamin breakfast in a pretty Wedgewood saucer. But a little hollandaise and a slice of Canadian bacon would be a welcome improvement.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summertime and the Livin' is......Busy

Good week for music here in Shasta County!

One of my favorite summertime events, Marketfest, kicks off this Thursday evening, with The Kid-N-Nic Show. I'll be at the Shasta Arts Council Booth -- sharing information on an SCAC auxiliary, the North State Songwriters (and probably sipping a cold beer). Please stop by and say "hello."

At 8, I'm heading over to the magnificent Cascade Theatre to enjoy Redding's own Jim Dyar Band and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. The show is a fundraiser for Westside Performing Arts Academy - the money will go toward scholarships for needy kids.

Another Nick, Nick Ciampi and the Rocs, will be at the Post Office Saloon on Thursday night, starting at 8.

If you STILL need more music:

On Friday evening at 7, the Old Time Fiddlers will be jamming at Leatherby's. It's a popular event -- the musicians so LOVE what they do, you just can't help but smile when they play.

More info on Marketfest.

More on Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women

More on Jim Dyar Band

More on the District 6 Old Time Fiddlers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers! Creativity's Alive and Thriving

I don't approve of pirating music. I think songwriters, publishers and artists should be compensated for mechanical copies of their work. Technology makes pirating easy, but it hasn't made it ethical. So when friends offer to burn copies of CDs for me, I say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Enjoying the view from my high moral ground, I really wanted to believe that piracy was detrimental to the music business. But I was wrong. Again. It's OK - I've gotten used to it.

Interesting story on the rampant creativity in the music industry since the advent of music piracy, from a study done by Harvard Business School

click here: Creativity and Music Piracy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In a world where music is freely distributed

Here's something completely different -- a song that's only being shared privately. Interesting story from the Wall Street Journal -- click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Songwriter Kenny Rankin Dies

Kenny Rankin -- writer of Peaceful and many other hits and is dead at 69.

Read the obit here.

Enjoy his lovely performance:

Homeschoolers Head for Washington

Ben Lundberg’s passion for history is taking him to Washington, DC, this week for the National History Day competition.

Ben, an 8th grade homeschool student, won the top State award in Sacramento for his Junior paper, "Caravels, Gold, and Holy Wars: The Actions and Legacies of Prince Henry the Navigator - Tradition and Reality." Ben's paper also won the special "Islamic and Arabic History Award."

Ben follows in his sister Deedee’s footsteps – she was a finalist last year for her paper on The White Rose society. In this year’s competition, Deedee advanced to the finals and won a special Children's Voice Award for her paper on Janusz Korczak, a Polish pediatrician, and pioneer of democratic education and children’s rights.

Earlier this year, homeschool mom and history enthusiast Kim Lundberg organized a group of 18 students from Shasta County for the California History Day competition in Sacramento. The student competed in the categories of analytical research papers, individual and group drama performances and posters.

Kim will be a road warrior this week as she drives Ben and Deedee to Washington DC, where Ben will compete in the History Day finals. Eighteen-year-old Deedee will attend orientation for her freshman year at George Washington University, where she’s received a generous academic scholarship.

Interested in learning more about local and state History Day?

From Kim Lundberg:

“We look forward to even greater participation from Shasta County students in our local and state History Day competitions next spring. Students from all schools (whether public, private, charter, or home schools) are welcome. For information and details, please contact me this summer or early fall -- email: "

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Performing Songwriter Coda

I've subscribed to a boatload of magazines in my life - I graduated from Tiger Beat in the late 60s, to Seventeen, then Glamour and on and on and on.

For the past couple of years I've enjoyed every delicious issue of Performing Songwriter magazine. The publishers promoted indie artists, provided incredible Behind-the-Song stories of old favorites and pages of encouragement and advice. I devoured it from cover to cover - I save them, I share them. The writers and editors understood what I do and why -- and that doesn't happen very often. At least not to me.

A note in my mailbox this morning announced the last issue has just been published. I feel like I'm losing an old friend. I hate that. But I suppose I will begin looking for another way to get that monthly validation and support.

Read more here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And the winner is.....

While reading a newspaper ad for a local Wine Bar, Craig said, "If they're giving ladies $5 off a bottle of wine, they should really call it Man's Night."

Hugs and Wise Words

It's Hug A Musician Day! Celebrate the musicians in your life.

Derek Sivers - CDBaby founder and music marketing guru -- offers excellent advice on sustainability on his blog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cherry, cherry

Cherries are at the top of my Favorite Food list. When Craig and I first moved to the country, we fancied ourselves to be Plucky Pioneers and we planted a small orchard that included four cherry trees.

I envisioned harvesting a bounty of fruit from our shady grove and winning blue ribbons for my pies at the County Fair. My rich fantasy life did not include any understanding of the amount of care and tending required by these temperamental trees. And that Cottonwood hardpan? Not exactly a favorable medium for growing anything besides star thistle.

The trees died. But we were Plucky Pioneers, so we rolled up our sleeves and planted another set. They, too, expired on our watch.

We put a halt to the carnage, cut our losses. We flunked Farming 101 and surrendered most of our acreage to a thriving crop of star thistle. But I count the days until cherry season, and when cherries appear in the produce aisle, I’m the crazy lady doing the Happy Dance.

My sister Katie introduced us to homemade Cherry Cobbler a few years ago, and my son Max instantly declared it his “favorite dessert.” I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years -- we prefer it heavy on the cherries, light on the cobbler.

Like some of the best things that life has to offer, Cherry Cobbler is a little bit messy, a little bit of work -- but oh-so-beautiful and luscious and an ideal way celebrate summer’s arrival.

Step one is to pit the cherries. I use this OXO pitter from Bed, Bath and Beyond -- but That Kitchen Place had a selection of pitters available, too. I remove the plastic splash guard – it just gets in the way.

Cherry pitting can be a sloppy job, but you can minimize the splatters by doing much of the work in the kitchen sink. If you hold the pitter in one hand and shoot the pit into your other hand, you can be sure you got it and you have a better chance of keeping your cobbler pit-free. And wear an apron – you’ll be glad you did.

Fresh Cherry Cobbler

For filling:

2 1/2 pounds fresh, sweet cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cook all filling ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve – 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon filling into a 12 by 7 inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350°F.

For topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Top off with:
2 teaspoons sugar
Make topping and bake cobbler:

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, blend the butter and the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Stir buttermilk and vanilla together and add to flour/butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Drop the dough in tablespoon-sized chunks on the cherry filling.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar over the top.

Bake until topping is browned, cherries are bubbly and the juices are thickened, about 35- 40 minutes.
Cool slightly and serve warm with good vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pine Dogz Downtown

Singer-songwriter Diana Wallis and her husband, Steve are

Pine Dogz .

They'll bring their unique sound to the Downtown Eatery - Friday night, 7 PM.

Diana and Steve have great energy, terrific songs and they love what they do. Go enjoy some live rockin' bluesy tunes, sweet potato fries and something cold and yummy to drink.

More on the Downtown Eatery here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free Download for Memorial Day/Election Week

The blessings -- and responsibilities -- of liberty are on my mind this week.

American Dreamers is one of our newest songs - you can listen to it and download it for free by clicking here.

American Dreamers

words and music by Erin and Craig Friedman
© 2009

She remembers the view from the back of the bus
She remembers the words to We Shall Overcome
She remembers that long march on Washington
She’s an American Dreamer
And she loves dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

He served in Iraq, a proud US Marine
When came back, his factory job was overseas
But this hard-working man will roll up his sleeves
He’s an American Dreamer
And he loves dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

Banners wave – change is blowin’ in the wind
American grace keeps her promises
The best we can be is where it begins
It begins with American Dreamers
We love dreaming again

American Dreamers believe
The American dream lives and breathes
Hear freedom ring throughout the land
When American Dreamers join hands

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honors at Arlington Honored

I attended today's County Supervisors meeting. I was deeply moved by a presentation made to men who are getting ready to ride across the country, to Arlington, to see that the cremains of three veterans are laid to rest with honor and respect.

You can read the story here:

And attend the send-off celebration on May 20th - details below.

from the blog: miapblog

Redding Vets Hall
20 May 09

Lunch (suggested donation for tir-tip or chicken $7): 11 am to 1 pm

Ceremony Start Time: 12:00 Noon

Location: Redding Vets Hall, Yuba Street

Welcome: (Jim Gibson)

Invocation: Don Mangrum

Pledge of Allegiance: (TBD)

Remarks/Presentations: (Mayor Bosetti and Shasta County Supervisor)

Honors at Arlington Mission: (Fred Salanti)

Benediction: Mary Turner

Ceremony End Time: 12:30

MIAP Escort Team Departure Time: 1:00 PM

Read more about the Missing in America Project here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Power Grab

I was one of the 350 people who packed last week's community meeting in Cottonwood regarding the TANC Transmission Project. Our home, with a view that I adore, overlooks the proposed route of the project and I wanted information.

I had read bits and pieces, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of the project until last week -- 600 miles of power lines and sub-stations stretching from Lassen County to the Bay area.

I still don’t have enough information. But I DO know that forcing families from their homes, devaluing property, tearing down forests and ancient oaks and carelessly disregarding property rights and the concerns of landowners is wrong.

The folks who live in rural communities tend to be fiercely independent. We don't have City Councils or big city lawyers. We have only our voices and a willingness to speak out against a project that could irreparably damage our communities and provide little or no benefit.

Take a look at the map - you can zoom in for more detail:

Read about the TANC project:

Read the opposition:

Write letters, send emails, please, to:

David Young
NEPA Document Manager
Western Area Power Administration
Sierra Nevada Region
114 Parkshore Drive
Folsom, CA 95630

If you'd like to be kept informed about local opposition, send an email to:

Donna Caldwell:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bobbie's Billie

I think "Ode to Billie Joe" is one of the best songs ever written.

I love singing it. I adore the 7th chords that run through the whole thing -- the perfect complement to Bobbie Gentry's lyrics that tell a story filled with unresolved details.

An article in Performing Songwriter magazine tells a bit about what became of Gentry and The Story Behind the Song

And Bobbie Gentry singing it oh-so nicely:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Last Cowboy in Shasta County

It's Rodeo Week in Redding - so we've been pulling out all the cowboy songs.

We're lucky to live in Cottonwood, where we look out on wide open spaces, rodeo bulls, horses and cowboys. I was watching the local cowboys working the rodeo stock one afternoon when I started writing this song. I definitely had the easier job.

Lyrics below.

It's available as a free download on our website:

The Last Cowboy in Shasta County

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

He'll take coffee as day breaks over Lassen
Saddle up to the tune of a Gene Autry song
There's a full day of work waitin' out in the pasture
For an old man, a paint horse and a Hangin' Tree dog


He's the Last Cowboy in Shasta County
Keeping the wild in the West while he can
He'll ride out his seasons with red manzanita
Black Oak and blue skies
And the last of the gold Shasta sand

At the edges, his mem'ries grow misty
Like the yellowing photos of old rodeos
The legend survives on good rides and good whiskey
And a promise he made in good faith long ago

repeat chorus

Gone are the days rough and rowdy
Hard times they carve ragged lines tough to cross
But hell will see hailstones before the last cowboy
Will piss on the fire and call in the dogs

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ignore Everybody

To most people, a business card is a small slip of paper with, perhaps, some marginally useful information. To cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, it's a canvas. He creates pieces like the one on the right on the backs of business cards.

He also has a book coming out in June, based on an entry in his gapingvoid blog on creativity:

"1. Ignore everybody.
2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours."

There are 37 points - excellent words to live by. Interested in a more creative life? Read on here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Now THAT'S a Sing Along

Pete Seeger leads a packed Madison Square Garden in "Amazing Grace" at his 90th Birthday celebration.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cottonwood and Cowboys

It's Rodeo Week in Cottonwood -- here's a cowboy song inspired by living in a place where the west is still a little wild:

Cowboy on Her Mind
© Erin Coombs Friedman

In a high-rise corner office
She’ll crunch numbers for the bosses
Spend all day working on the bottom line
It’s the long ride home that does it
DJ says, “Here’s Lyle Lovett”
And she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind

And the Cowboy on Her Mind
Is the brave and wild kind
Could not be tamed -- Lord knows she tried
Silver buckle – Cuervo Gold
“Cowboy Man” on the stereo
On her own with a Cowboy on Her Mind

Her ghostly hero rides in
She takes her place beside him
Taste the kisses mixed with salt and lime
The man she lost in Colorado
Will be gone again tomorrow
But she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind

Details on Rodeo Week and all the activities are available here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger

Ninety years looks pretty good on this folk music icon.

He'll be celebrating with Emmy Lou Harris, Bruce Springsteen and others at a tribute concert in Madison Square Garden.

Here's one of my favorites:

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Our Neighborhood...

...the teenagers tend to be well-armed -- with airsoft guns and bagpipes:

The other night, one of the neighborhood teens ran through the house wearing a kilt and carrying an airsoft assault rifle. He wouldn't let me take his picture -- but his kilt was a Utilikilt, and this Utilitkilt commercial always makes me smile:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Father Knows Best

I spent four days last week in San Jose, helping my sister who is recovering from surgery. Craig took the boys to work with him and chauffeured them to their various activities.

Friday, all three kids (ages 19, 17 and 13) stayed home to catch up on chores. This is the list Craig left for them:

Welcome to your day off. Everyone must be up and working by 10 AM.

KITCHEN – Clean all counters, sink and drain board. Dishes, pots and pans put away.

LIVINGROOM – Put everything away. Dust and vacuum. You know what it should look like. If not: Move out.

LAUNDRY – Fold and put away all clothes. I don’t care who they belong to. Wash all clothes and towels. Put away. If you don’t know what I mean: Move out!

BACK PATIO - Leaf blow, clean, organize. I’ve explained it many times. If you don’t know what I mean: Move out. Do you get the picture?

BATHROOMS – Clean toilets, sinks, floors, towels. Don’t make me micro-manage. If I need to: Move out.

Mom will be home at 2. All work must be complete prior to her arrival. If you cannot handle it, have your bags packed and I’ll drop you at the bus stop.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Tardy Waterfall Week Entry

This post is late for Waterfall Week -- but The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown is one of my favorite songs to sing. And the hike up to Whiskeytown Falls is one of my all-time favorite outdoor adventures. It's just challenging enough to feel like a good workout -- and the falls are spectacular and inspiring...well worth every uphill step.

I'll be taking the kids up there this week, enjoying this delightful Spring weather.

Here's the tune - lyrics below:

The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown

© Erin Coombs Friedman

Our morning coffee comes with heavy silence
In the nighttime we find refuge in our dreams
Like some mid-life cliché
We sleepwalk through the day
While the love of a lifetime slips away


They finally found
The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown
They found crystal caverns
Buried deep beneath the ground
A fortune in gold
In a mountain of stone
Surely we can find the love we lost
Right here at home

I used to find an open invitation
In your eyes and in your tender touch
Like a postcard from a lonely place
You’re so far away these days
And I’m trying to find a reason I should stay

Too much to lose –- too much at stake
I’ll find my way back to you –
Whatever it takes

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cool Market in Cottonwood

Lovely turnout last Friday evening for the first Cottonwood Farmers Market.

We enjoyed music by The Pine Dogs - Diana and Steve Wallis. They also provided the stage and fabulous sound system - what nice folks to get to work with.

You can hear The Pine Dogs this Wednesday night (April 29) at The Post Office in the downtown mall. They do a rich mix of rockin' blues - originals and covers -- and use some unique electronics to create a full, interesting sound. Good stuff.

Craig and I got to chat with our neighbors and meet some online friends. We played our set - and got a kick out of folks singing along with "Shut Up in the Key of G."

I don't eat before I sing -- that could get ugly -- and I was hoping the tamales would still be available after our set. Oh, yes! Devoured a delicious, authentic pork tamale with salsa and sour cream. Good stuff -- from Esperanza:

Then enjoyed some old-time music the The Cactus and the Rose:

The weather couldn't have been nicer -- we've played in Cottonwood when it was 109 degrees and when the rain and wind came out of nowhere. But for this event, skies were cooperative and clear. Nice to see Cottonwood shine.

The market will return to Cottonwood every Friday, from 3 - 7.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Market and Trivia

Shasta County Arts Council and Cottonwood Creek Watershed Group present a year-round Farmers Market in historic Downtown Cottonwood.

Head out to Main Street, near Etc. Mercantile this Friday evening and enjoy arts and crafts, food, fresh produce and live music. The event runs from 3 - 7.

We LOVE to play in our hometown - should be great fun.

Here's the musician schedule:

4-4:45 Pine Dogs (Diana and Steve Wallis)

5-5:45 Still Married

6-6:45 Cactus and the Rose

Are you planning to be there? Be the first to post the correct answer to the question below, and I'll give you one of our CDs on Friday evening at the Farmers Market.

Yes, I KNOW it's a lame prize. But you'll get the CD and all the glory that goes with being a winner.

Here you go:

What is Still Married's most requested song?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teen Dreams

How do you make a 13-year-old car enthusiast smile?

Let him sit in a $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 and take his picture:

Songwriter Showcase

North State Songwriters present a Songwriter Showcase at Little Filly's Pizza (22047 Palo Way, Palo Cedro) on April 18th.

Opening the show at 6:45 will be Matt McClendon -- I was impressed by Matt at the Golden Umbrella Talent show, where he received a second-place award. Here's his myspace page: Matt's myspace.
Still Married is on at 7 - we're bringing our fiddle player for a couple of tunes and will be debuting two new songs that night - always makes things interesting. We'll see how "Still Married" we are by the end of the evening.....

At 7:30, we are very pleased to have Bay-area singer-songwriter Michael Gaither on the bill. He tells some great stories with his songs - check out his website: Michael Michael will also be playing at the Post Office on Friday night with Jim Dyar.

Nick Ciampi will be up next - a dear soul, whose songs and style are reminiscent of Dylan. Nick's myspace is here.

Pine Dogs is another Cottonwood duo: Diana Wallis and her husband, Steve, will play a rockin', bluesy set of original tunes. Diana and I are having some fun co-writing - I'm hoping she'll play one of our brand new tunes. Diana's myspace.

Janie Seeger, who has a marvelous Trisha Yearwood-type voice and an upbeat style, will round the show at 9. She's bringing a lead guitar player, too, so it should be a fun evening. Janie's website.

No cover charge - some great pizza and a casual family atmosphere. Hope you'll join us.

For more information contact:

Little Filly's: 547-5412