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 ABC.com, 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