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