Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shasta County Folk Song Honored

We're very excited that our song The Hour of the Outlaw received an Honorable Mention in the Folk category of the West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest.

I wrote the song in response to a challenge on the Songwriting Scene blog: "Write a song based on a book title." I had read Maiya Williams' time-travel novel, The Hour of the Outlaw, to my kids a few years before and thought the title had a nice musical lilt to it. For the song's story, I found inspiration in a local historical event -- the Ruggles Brothers legend, with its bad boys, sunken treasure and lynch mob.

As a songwriter, I like to take the truth and make it better, so I whipped out my Poetic License and embellished the tale, creating a Shasta County folk song with a supernatural twist.

The song is on our latest CD, Storms and Other Blessed Burdens.

The Hour of the Outlaw
words and music © 2010 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

Monday, May 23, 2011

70 Candles: Blowin' in the Wind

Bob Dylan celebrates his 70th birthday this Tuesday, so singer-songwriter (and devoted Dylan fan) Nick Ciampi has organized a party.

May 24th, 5:30 PM
Ultimate Pizza
1730 Pleasant Street
Redding, CA 96001

"Dylan is a legend and still doing it," says Nick, when asked why he's putting together this musical tribute. "I wonder how many of us would be writing songs if he didn't start that bug in so many of us so long ago?"

Nick has invited area musicians to come out and join in the celebration. It will be "a night for people to get together and play and have fun," Nick says.

I'm planning to be there - I'll sing one of my favorite Dylan tunes, One Too Many Mornings.I first heard to the song on a Bobby Sherman album back in the late 60s. Yes - EVERYONE does Dylan.

Nick promises "a lot of great songs done in a lot of different ways."

So what's Nick Ciampi's favorite Dylan tune? "So many songs to choose from," he says, "I could write a book on my favorites." But he's especially fond of "Blind Willie McTell," a ballad he calls honest and real.

Come help celebrate an American Icon on Tuesday night. You're welcome to sing, if you'd like, sing along, or just enjoy the great pizza and the camaraderie of fellow music fans.

Here's The Kingston Trio's version of One Too Many Mornings: