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.