Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanks for the Memories

In this Grateful Season, I get to count a lot of blessings -- including a friendship that began before grade school and still thrives.

In August, I spent four glorious days with my dear friend, Mary - she and I share a birthday and we celebrated 50 years of fun and friendship at her mountain home in the High Sierras. Lots of hiking, loads of laughs and a few bottles of good wine.
Fun in Heidelberg, 2013

Mary and her lab, Marco in Mammoth, 2014

Before "Valley Girls" was a thing, there was us -- loving the sun, the sand and the songs and living a charmed life in Chatsworth in  LA's San Fernando Valley. My gift to my Sweet Forever Friend was this -- The Songs the Summer Sings -- because nothing says "Thanks for all the memories" like a cheesy, 70s-style pop tune.

The Songs the Summer Sings
words and music by Erin Friedman

Tires spinnin’ on a canyon road
Valley girls head out for the coast
Sing along to the radio
Tuned to 93

Zuma 7 was the promised land
Endless Summer layin’ out on the sand
Perfect soundtrack to the perfect tan
Were The Songs the Summer Sings


We knew all the words
To all The Songs the Summer Sings
California girls
With California dreams
We were wrong about a lot of things:
Fast cars, bad boys, sunscreen
But we were right about
The Songs the Summer Sings 


 Goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road

Beegees, Beach Boys, and Rolling Stones
They said “It’s Only Rock and Roll”
But it was everything

It was a cruise out on Van Nuys
Tunes for scopin’ out the guys
Fire drills at the long red lights
To The Songs the Summer Sings


We were straight-A, honor rolls girls
But from June until September
Shed our Pleasant Valley Sunday world
Making summers to remember


We were wrong about Annie Green Springs
And Dittos saddleback jeans
But we were right about
The Songs the Summer Sings

Monday, October 20, 2014

Banjo's Awesome Modesto Adventure

Word came last week that my song, 2:20, made it to the finals of the Northern California Women's Music Festival Songwriting Contest  I was invited to perform the tune at the festival on Saturday evening. I hemmed and hawed about making the trip -- it's four hours away and we had no one to care for The Banjo Dog.

Then 18-year old Joe, said: "Mom, you HAVE to go. What are you doing music for if NOT for things like this?!"

He had a point.

So I logged on to and located a dog-friendly hotel. Got a great deal on a room where our goofy dog was welcome.   Banjo's been part of the family for six months but this would be his first road trip. Turns out he's a trooper. Loves riding in the truck and he's the perfect hotel guest: quiet, neat and unlikely to steal towels.

Banjo likes hotels!
Craig and I headed out early on Saturday morning -- when he's not my faithful bass player, Craig is a terrific roadie -- and we made it to Modesto in the early afternoon. This was the first Northern California Women's Music Festival. What a lovely event. The Prospect Theater is intimate and beautifully appointed, a comfortable space that was obviously created by someone who loves the theater. The stage and the lighting were lovely and sound was perfect.  Best of all were the people -- great folks created this festival and made it happen in a big way -- a joyful vibe permeated the room.

The song, 2:20, was inspired by a late-night trip that we made to the Redding train station last year. It was eerie and odd to be out in Redding at two am, waiting in the dark for the arrival of the Coast Starlight. There was NO sleep for us that night -- we were texting and keeping track of Joe (our smart kid) who was headed to the Bay Area to visit my dear sister and her husband.

All sorts of thoughts floated through my mind that sleepless night - and I imagined a woman leaving town under rather dire circumstances and wrote a song around that story.

I played the song to an attentive audience and was delighted that my sleepless night paid off and I won the songwriting contest.

Banjo's patience was wearing thin at this point, so we said our goodbyes and set out in search of a dog-friendly restaurant.

Dews in Modesto had a lovely patio.

"Can we sit here with our dog?" "Of course!"  "Champagne?"  "Why, yes."

What a place -- calamari fritta was fabulous, followed by a bleu cheese encrusted New York Steak and Blackened Sea Bass. The bread pudding ala mode - bliss! All the while, Banjo laid quietly at my feet.   It was a perfect evening.

"The bill, please?"

"It's been paid for.  An anonymous donor wanted to help you celebrate."

Oh. My. Goodness. -- An amazing day from start to finish. Back to earth tomorrow. But in the small songwriting world I live in, this counts a truly awesome adventure.

-- Erin

Friday, September 12, 2014

Yes, Redding, there IS an end to Summer

How do I know that? Because we are playing the Autumn Art Reception at Redding City Hall on Thursday, September 18th from 5-7 PM.  

This is a lovely,  annual community event - a gift from the City of Redding. The new art displays are unveiled, complimentary refreshments provided, the artists are on hand to talk about their work and North State Songwriters will provide a sound track of original tunes.

Still Married plays at 5, followed by singer- songwriter Will Miller, who will perform indie folk and country music. Presenting dirt road country and folk with a vintage spirit will be Hal Johnson, and singer-songwriter Anne Dezort will carry on the rich tradition of folk music in a deeply personal way.

We are delighted to share the stage with these musicians and are especially excited to be bringing some family members along as a cheering section.  

Ron and BobbyLee Negri
Craig's mother and stepfather are immortalized on our recording of Shut Up in the Key go G -- they play the part of the loudmouth drunks -- and we will be asking them to reprise their roles when we get to this song on the playlist.

Celebrate the Arts in Redding this Thursday - we'd love to see you there. You're welcome to tell us to "SHUT UP!" too:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nashville Comes to Redding

Nashville singer-songwriter Kacey Jones has been called "irrepressible," "zany," "brilliant," and more for her clever songwriting skills.  She's bringing her tunes and her sassy style to The Post Office in Downtown Redding TONIGHT at 7.

Listen to "Donald Trump's Hair" and her splendid version of Mickey Newbury's "San Francisco Mabel Joy" and come on out to the Post Office tonight for music and laughter.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shasta County Tunes Head to Worldfest

We're packing up our gear and heading to Grass Valley to perform at California Worldfest.

From their website:

                                                           A WORLD OF MUSIC

Under the cool, tall pines of the Sierra Foothills
Featuring 8 stages of music from around the world,
camping with family and friends, workshops, international food,
fine crafts, and the renowned children's program.

We call it "a tremendous opportunity." There's a stellar line-up of musicians and activities for the weekend and it looks like the temperatures at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley are a fair bit cooler than here in Shasta County.

We are thrilled to be taking the stage at 10 AM and noon on Friday, July 11th, along with the two other KZFR Songwriting finalists: Hannah Jane Kyle (winner!) and Dan Casamajor.  

We'll be sharing our love of our Shasta County home with the audience -- singing songs about Redding trains, Mount Shasta and our magnificent Sundial Bridge.  And chickens, of course.

Here's the finale from the KZFR Celebration of the Song Event held at the  Sierra Nevada Big Room last month -- Will the Circle Be Unbroken -- featuring the talents of Joe Craven, Dan Casamajor, Hannah Jane Kyle and a couple of grinning rubes from Cottonwood.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom and The Mustangs of Las Colinas

I always considered it the mark of a lazy songwriter:  The LONG introduction.

            "Ahem....This song is about a time when my roommate and her ex-husband had this fight and ....blah...blah...blah...."

Sorry, but if I can't tell what the song is about from listening to it, then you haven't done your job. Re-write, please.

Ummm...What's the emoticon for Eating Crow?

Because here I am, being THAT songwriter, explaining an obscure reference in my latest song, because unless you know this sculpture in Irving, Texas, the song may not make much sense.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas
photo from the Irving Archives -  used with permission 

I saw photos of "The Mustangs of Las Colinas" by wildlife sculptor Robert Glen online and thought it was magnificent piece of art. Magical. Inspiring.  There's such forward motion and energy behind it, such high spirit and yet...

I knew I had to fit it into a song.

photo from the Irving Archives, used with permission

At about the same time, I became aware of the serious problem of sex trafficking in the US. Seems it is NOT just a Third-World-Other-People's-Problem, but a real menace right here in California. And it involves children and teens exploited and enslaved by the adults in the their lives, innocent victims who deserve better.

Those ideas came together in this song.

The folks at The Mustangs of Las Colinas in Texas kindly provided photos of their prized sculpture - and the story behind it is well worth reading at their website: The Mustangs of Las Colinas.

For more information on sex trafficking and what is being done to help victims:

Courage Wordwide: a Rocklin, California-based organization devoted to building homes for rescued children.

Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

And after that very long-winded (sorry) introduction, here's the song (lyrics are below):


Words and music by Erin Friedman

Saw a picture in a magazine
Ponies running through a stream
Water splashing at their feet
Cast in bronze, set in stone

Nurse called my name, set my wrist
Another clumsy accident
Wait in the parking lot for him
We’ll head on down the road

And we run like The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Full of fury, fire and frozen in place
But unlike The Mustangs of Las Colinas
I’ll reach the far shore
I’m breakin’ away

Fifteen and livin’ in a homeless hell
Friend or foe? – It’s hard to tell
But he rescued me and taught me well
To do what a girl can do

Kept his promises with lock and key
Cigarette burns on the sheets
The girl who planned to chase her dreams
Can’t find the strength to move

So we run like The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Full of fury, fire and frozen in place
But unlike The Mustangs of Las Colinas
I’ll reach the far shore
I’m breakin’ away

Don’t bite the hand that brings your meals
Don’t talk too much, don’t think, don’t feel
But those ponies kickin’ up their heels
Keep runnin’ through my mind

Stalled stampede at the starting gate
Slow-motion scene that culminates
With a single shot from a .38
Race is on, and the water’s fine

And I run like The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Full of fury, fire and frozen no more
But unlike The Mustangs of Las Colinas
I’ll find my freedom
I'll climb that far shore

© 2014 Erin Friedman

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chickens on the Playlist

Many years ago there was a middle-of-the-night commotion in our chicken yard. I hopped out of bed and found 14-year-old Max in the hall, "Something's messing with the chickens," he shouted, "let's go!"

Max was clad in underpants and brandishing a huge Claymore sword that he bought at the Renaissance Faire. I was armed with a flashlight. We set out to see what was so upsetting to our laying hens.

What we found was a possum. And a song.

Possum in the Hen House is on our playlist for out July 1st  gig at the Sundial Music Festival. Still Married plays at 7, followed by The Torpedoes at 8, so wear your dancing' shoes.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Cardboard Sign

Splendid view from the Riverfront Amphitheater last week
A couple years ago I read “The Last American Man” – Elizabeth Gilbert’s biography of Eustace Conway, a man who escaped to the wilderness, lived off the land and encouraged others to do the same. If you’ve read “Eat, Pray, Love,” then you know Elizabeth Gilbert and she plays a part in Eustace’s story.

Hitching rides is also part of Eustace’s adventure, and at one point, a hitchhiker explains his secret for getting drivers to stop to pick him up. There’s a single word you can write on your sign that virtually guarantees a ride. 

I loved the story and filed it away – sure that one day I could turn it into a song. 

It's on our playlist for the Sundial Music Festival on July 1st at 7 PM. We're ordering up a cool river-breeze for you, and there will be food trucks and beer. Torpedoes play at 8. Should be great fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When a teenage boy produces his parents' music video....

Max was 16 years old and the only one in the family who owned a video camera back in 2008, so we were at his mercy when we asked him to produce a video for our song "Shut Up in the Key of G."

The kid did a good job for us -- though he may have had a little too much fun.

This is the song we close out our shows with - we'll be playing it at the Sundial Music Festival at 7 PM on Tuesday evening, July 1st.  Join us for this celebration of the Sundial Bridge's 10th anniversary -- But please refrain from throwing things, unless it's large bills.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"It's my highway, I can cry if I want to..."

Well....OK, it's not exactly "My Highway," but last year,  after I lost my Dad, I found myself using my daily Drive Time for crying.  It worked out well, because I could sob privately, in peace, and by the time I got where I was going, I was ready to face the world.

I came to call that stretch of road between home and work my "Cryin' Highway." I wanted to write a song about it, but I didn't want to write a sad, heart-wrenching ballad, because I truly believe that tears are healing and getting past grief requires attending to the emotional details - even when they wreck your mascara and make you look all puffy.

And besides, Dad liked rollicking, fun tunes, so I owed him something up-beat.

The song I came up with is "Cryin' Highway." We debuted it a few weeks ago and it's on the playlist for our set at the Sundial Music Festival on July 1st.

Check out the details here: Sundial Music Festival

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Celebrating 10 Years of Inspiration

The Sundial Bridge is one of those places that continues to inspire and delight me. My daughter was a volunteer with Turtle Bay in 2004 when the bridge opened and was one of the first to get to cross it. Since then,  I get out there every chance I get.

I've found a lot songs on that span and on the adjacent River Trail, including Under the Sundial Bridge and River Whispers.  So we were delighted to be asked to perform some of our tunes during the Sundial Music Festival,  part of the Celebrate 10 festivities.

The Riverfront Amphitheater is a cool, grassy slope above a stage that sits just off the river bank,  it's north of the Convention Center, between the Sundial Bridge and the Boat Ramp.   It's a perfect spot to share our locally-inspired tunes.

In addition to music, you'll also find a beer garden and food trucks with all sorts of goodies available.
photo by Cierra Goldstein

Sundial Music Festival runs from 6 -9 PM,  June 22 - June 25 and June 29 - July 2.  It features  different musical acts every night.

Still Married will perform on Tuesday, July 1st, at 7 PM at the
Riverfront Amphitheater.

More details are here:

This tune is on our playlist for the Sundial Music Festival - hope to see lots of friends there for  this is a momentous occasion. Ten years of beauty, grace and inspiration is well worth a grand celebration.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Be Prepared...or Not

Last night Craig and I had the honor and pleasure of performing as finalists in the Celebration of the Song event, produced by Chico radio station KZFR, hosted by Joe Craven.

In the weeks leading up to the showcase, Craig and I traded nightmares - when we weren't plagued with insomnia. We worried. We imagined every worst-case scenario.  And we rehearsed our set over and over and over again.

I was prepared to be in awe of the venue: The Big Room at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico. It's a premiere venue, designed for music, beautifully appointed. And the sweet aroma of brewing beer hangs in the air. The stage has hosted some of the biggest names in Americana music.

I was prepared to be in awe of the other musicians: Hannah Jane Kyle - a young gal who crafts beautiful tunes and delivers them with tremendous style.  Dan Casamajor, who has been on the music scene since the 1960s and performs delightful folk-rock songs.

I was NOT prepared for the genuinely joyful, supportive atmosphere - the camaraderie and the encouragement that flowed from every corner. All the musicians backstage were talking each other up, offering advice and hugs. Love flowed right back from the audience during the performances and afterward.  We were completely enveloped in a genuine "Celebration" of the Song. The folks in charge deserve a standing ovation for creating such a magical event.

It was a rare treat for us, an evening that has left me smiling and wishing that every songwriter could have that kind of positive, uplifting experience on stage.

I'll being chewing on that possibility for awhile.

We debuted a new song last night -- here's a chorus of Cryin' Highway -- captured just before the video camera batteries gasped their last:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Answer: Because of The Nipple Shirt

The question: Why does Still Married do dress rehearsals before a gig?

It was about ten years ago, when Craig and I first started playing together as a duo, we were practicing for a gig. I was wearing a brown and beige embroidered blouse from India. In person, the shirt was lovely. But we shot some video of our rehearsal and it turns out the embroidery, the color and the lighting combined to create a rather pornographic mirage.  It looked like I was naked from the waist up -- and because of the strategically-placed brown flowers -- that I had very large, dark nipples.

That shirt, henceforth and evermore known as: "The Nipple Shirt," made its way to the Salvation Army. And Craig and I committed to dress rehearsals ever since.

We are stoked for our gig tonight at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - thrilled to share the stage with talented songwriters and to have a chance to perform our tunes in a first-class venue.

Here's clip of our dress rehearsal on Sunday - with nary a nipple (imaginary or otherwise) in sight.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Redding Tune Heads to Chico

A few weeks ago, I entered a song in radio station KZFR's "Celebration of the Song" contest. The song -- 2:20 -- was inspired by a late night trip to the Redding train station at two o'clock in the morning - because that's when the train rolls through town.  The adventure made for a ridiculously long night,  but somewhere in the sleep depravation and the bleary-eyed fog, I DID find a song.

I got a call the other day and was told I am one of three finalists who are invited play at the Sierra Nevada Big Room in Chico on June 4th. The three of finalists also get a spot at the California Worldfest in Grass Valley this summer. The other finalists are Hannah Jane Kile and Dan Casamajor.  Joe Craven will be hosting the evening and entertaining

Excited?  That hardly begins to cover it.

We'll be rehearsing non-stop for the next two weeks and looking forward to this incredible opportunity.  Tickets are available here:  Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Art in the City: A Redding Tradition

Thursday, May 15th, the City of Redding presents a free concert and art show at Redding City Hall. The Summer Art Reception runs from 5-7 and features art from the Grand View Fine Arts Society, quilts created by the Quilter's Sew-Ciety of Redding and art by Patricia Cook. Click here for more information on the artists.

Several North State Songwriters will perform original music in the lobby. 

Still Married's  country folk tunes celebrate the landscape, the characters and the independent spirit of Far Northern California, with songs like "Under the Sundial Bridge" and "The Redding Song."  Singer- songwriter Will Miller will perform indie folk and country music. Duo Matthew Songmaker and Sam Jo bring a unique blend of bluegrass, Americana, and acoustic country. Justin Contreras will perform original acoustic rock tunes.

The public is invited to meet the artists whose work is on display and enjoy complimentary refreshments at Shasta County's largest art gallery.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Give Away

Hop on over to our website and download a free tune -- From Your Mama's Heart.

Happy Mother's Day to all.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Howdy-Do to a New Duo

Young, talented and bursting with enthusiasm -- two singer-songwriters team up and prove that the whole really IS greater than the sum of its parts. Matthew Songmaker and Sami Jo are the newest duo to hit the Redding music scene.

The two will perform original tunes on May 15th at Redding City Hall as part of the North State Songwriter Showcase that runs from 5 - 7 PM.

Matthew is a 15-year-old multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and a busy performer of gospel, country and blues tunes in the Redding area. Sami Jo is a rising country star who writes songs with a traditional flavor and modern appeal. Matthew and Sami Jo describe their music together as a blend of bluegrass, Americana and acoustic country.  

I asked them about their partnership and their plans.

How did the two of you start making music together?
Matthew: We met at a gig and I invited Sami to meet me at Shasta College and practice a few tunes. Then we started playing care centers and other gigs, too.
How has performing as a duo influenced your songwriting?
Sami Jo: Performing as a duo has influenced me specifically, a lot, because I have been learning so much from Matthew. I am influenced by the way Matthew is able to weave a song together through instrumentals. The instruments alone tell a story to me. 
What are your ambitions as a songwriter?
Matthew: We want to try to write unique songs that touch people's minds and hearts. 
Sami Jo: I think our lyrical songwriting is influenced by the things that we experience in our lives. Writing a song is like writing in a journal, where each page is another day lived. My ambitions as a songwriter are to write songs that people can relate to and understand. We want to write songs that reflect emotion and touch hearts.
Any exciting events on your calendar after the 15th?
Matthew: We have a lot of gigs after the 15th. We always do care centers, but we are also playing Kelly's Pub, French Gulch Hotel and a KKRN benefit.

On May 15th, come to Redding City Hall and check out the new exhibit in Shasta County's largest art gallery. You'll also have a chance to meet the artists, enjoy complimentary refreshments and listen to this dynamic duo - Matthew Songmaker and Sami Jo. You will be impressed, I promise.  
The performance schedule:

Justin Contreras

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Popovers

For our family, Mother's Day is all about the Cottonwood Rodeo. But there's no reason it can't be all about Rodeo and Scones, too.

To be honest, the only thing I've ever purchased at Neiman Marcus is food. When my sisters whisk me off to Las Vegas for a Sister's Weekend, we always end up eating a delicious, girly lunch at Neiman Marcus's Mariposa restaurant.

The meal is all about The Popovers - brought to the tables warm and served with strawberry butter. Divine.

I made these for Easter a few weeks ago. We should have served them on pretty Wedgewood Plates with a spot of tea and a flute of champagne. Instead, we ate them standing at the kitchen counter, pulling the steaming pastries apart and dipping them in blueberry butter. Pretty darn good, even without the fine china.

Here's a link to the recipe - they are easy and perfect for a Mother's Day brunch. If you don't have a popover pan, buy one. Buy two. They are THAT good.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Defending Redding

Tired of Redding being the butt of jokes on The Onion and elsewhere? Sick of the rehashing of the Gallup-Healthways survey that put Redding near the bottom of the list with regard to "well-being?"  So are we.

We love the city of Redding and we're putting our music where our mouth is.  We're giving away our tune "We're Number 1(87)!" over on our website. Download it for free, share it. Spread the word that Redding -- and the people who call this place home -- have much to be proud of.

Click here for free download of WE'RE NUMBER 1(87)! 

Background on the tune is here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Redding: We're #1 ....Sorta

Okay: We're number 187. Whatever.

I was a little irked at the report in USA Today and elsewhere on the Gallup-Healthways survey that ranked Redding 187th out of 189 U.S. cities with regard to "well being." We're one notch below Spartanburg, South Carolina, and just below us, at the bottom of the list, are a couple West Virginia communities. Sigh.

For me, the best antidote to irked-ness is songwriting. Turning lemons into lemonade with this new tune, wherein we answer the negative press with a laundry list of Redding's virtues.  

Scroll down to listen on Youtube.

We're Number 1 (87)
words and music by Erin Friedman

Numbers crunched and calculated
U.S. cities ranked and rated
Enumerated proof we can’t ignore
In Anchorage they exercise
In Lafayette they’re satisfied
In Redding we are mystified
By our abysmal score

We’re Number One-eighty-seven
We score no points for rivers, bridges and sunshine
We’re number one-eighty-seven
But watch out Spartanburg
Redding’s ready to climb

We cast flies on the Sacramento
Our theater’s restored art-deco
We love Shasta’s glow when the sun is setting
Provo’s tops in USA Today
But I can buy local Chardonnay
Even on the Sabbath Day
At Safeway in Redding

We’re Number One-eighty-seven
We score no points for rivers, bridges and sunshine
We’re number one-eighty-seven
But watch out Spartanburg
Redding’s ready to climb

Our Sundial Bridge is world-renowned
Hike the falls at Whiskeytown
Our 80 miles of trails are right for rambling
See salmon rise on 44
Smile, Redding, head outdoors
Our collective self-esteem will soar
Like an eagle on the wing

We’re Number One eighty-seven
We're looking down on almost heaven, West Virginia
We’re number one-eighty-seven
Redding will rise
And Gallup, we’ll forgive ya

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Redding's got FLASH!

USA Today can say what they want about the well-being of folks here in Redding, but these energetic kids are doing their part to ramp-up the happiness quotient right here in River City.

Flash Crew rehearses tirelessly and performs any time they get a chance - you may have seen them at the Mount Shasta Mall, at Market Street Faire,  at the Sundial Bridge....or sleeping on my living room couches.

Flash Crew is Joe Friedman, Brady Olsen, Nolan Meeks, Hunterrose Emmons, Tony Meredith and Tristan Gifford. Talented videographer Brandon Burgess of Sacramento's  IAMMOMENT  Productions has produced a several videos starring starring the Flash Crew. 

The latest is TIMELESS - watch the video and watch for the Flash Crew to make a big splash in the dance world and make Redding proud.

Like them on: Facebook
Follow them on: Twitter

Flash Crew's Timeless:

Flash Crew's Saviors of the Universe:

Behind the scene at Saviors of the Universe:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Turf o' Tullamore

According to family legend, my great-great grandfather, George Convy, brought a piece of sod from the homeland when he emigrated from Ireland in 1866. Now and then, when he was feeling particularly homesick, he would take it out and have a good cry.

The Irish, who fled their country by the thousands, did not have a word for "emigrate" -- instead, they used the word for "exile," which struck me as sad and poignant. 

In this song, The Turf o' Tullamore, I pay tribute to my Irish ancestors, who came from Tullamore, Ireland, to make a new life in St Louis, MO, -- and who occasionally grieved for their homeland.

In celebration of Saint Patrick's Day, the song is available as a free download on our website - hop on over and help yourself. 

Click here: Still Married website.

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


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Boomerang Bash

Boomerang - Nick's new CD

I often say: Nick Ciampi is the reason Craig and I are Still Married

Nick came into our lives with his guitar and his grin and set us off on a mystical, musical journey. I can' t imagine life ANY other way and we are so grateful for Nick's encouragement, his enthusiasm and his passionate, optimistic spirit.

Nick is a musical legend here in Redding.  For fifty years, he's crafted his passionate, folk-rock tunes, played in bands from Oregon to San Diego, captivated audiences and taught students of all ages.  

This weekend Nick Ciampi and his Band are celebrating the release of Nick's first studio CD, Boomerang, an album chock-full of richly-produced rock tracks that showcase Nick's soulful voice and poignant lyrics.

This project is dear to Nick's heart:  "The CD is a lifelong accomplishment. My first real studio-produced album, done by a world-class producer.  Since 1964, when I started my first band, I dreamed of having a recording of this quality."

The 15-track CD was produced at After Hours Recorders by Redding's Bruce Turgon, who Nick describes as "the absolute best." Rounding out the Nick Ciampi Band, are Marty Tully on lead guitar, George Ertl on drums, and Eddie "Boo Boo" Belnas on bass.  Boomerang features guest performances by Nick's good buddy Gary Zimmerman from San Mateo on horns.   

The Boomerang Release Party is Sunday, March 16th, from 3-7 at the Old Millhouse Restaurant in Redding.  Nick has invited several musician friends to help celebrate, so in addition to hearing Nick and his band perform the entire album, he promises performances by local guest artists. 

Pizza, beer and original tunes. We're looking forward to it!

Facebook page for the CD Release Party.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Still Married is on the Couch

Our video for The Best Damn Man is up on the Couch by Couchwest website.  Tune in all week for an eclectic, entertaining collection of independent music.

Click here for Couch by Couchwest.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Austin, Shmaustin....

I guess there's an ultra-hip, high-priced music/art festival going on in Austin, Texas, next week -- South-by-something-or-other.

What if you're a starving artist, paying mortgage and tuition, and you can't drop everything to head to Austin and spend the week rubbing elbows with movers and shakers, posting party selfies on Instagram and waiting in line for the restroom?

No worries! There's an alternative for the rest of us.

The folks at Couch by Couchwest have organized an online music festival that we all can enjoy from the comfort  of our own living rooms.  The concept is simple: Musicians submit videos and they are showcased online at the CXCW website from March 9th through the 15th. The cost to participate: $ 0.

Add to the fun: Mustache, taco and haiku contests and the chance to discover some undiscovered talent and you'll be delighted that you didn't fork over the big bucks in the Lone Star State.

Last year, Craig and I posted a video for our song "Reminds Me of You."

Another North State Songwriter, Jonathan Foster, played along last year with his video:

Look for brand spanking new videos for CXCW 2014 from Still Married and Jonathan Foster next week.

If you can't quite wait for your Jonathan Foster fix, the talented singer-songwriter has a couple gigs coming up.  Catch him Saturday, March 8th, at the Post Office in Redding's Downtown Mall, starting at 8:30.

Jonathan will also bring his tunes to Kelly's Pub (2155 Hilltop Dr, Redding) on
Friday, March 21st, at 8.  More details at Jonathan's website:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pilgrim in Beachwood Canyon

"I am a pilgrim in Beachwood Canyon
Harmonies still echo from that mansion."

                                                      -- from the song Family Ties

I wrote those lyrics as a tribute to a magnificent house that looms large in my memory. It was my Grandparents' home for nearly thirty years - site of Easter egg hunts, Christmas carols around the piano, family feasts, and loads of love and laughs with aunts, uncles and cousins. And immeasurable joy.

Built in the late 1920s in a development that was called "Hollywoodland," the English Tudor house looms like a castle on a hill in Beachwood Canyon in Los Angeles, just under the Hollywood Sign. It's a little bit famous because it was once owned by Bela Lugosi, but it is much beloved in our family - filled with treasured memories of good times with all the friends and relations who shaped our lives and gifted us with cherished family traditions.

Helen and Phil Leslie, early 1960s
Helen and Phil Leslie bought the house 1945 for around $25, 000;  it sold last year for $2.6 million.  My grandfather, a comedy writer for radio and television, would have had a good laugh over that price -- and the extensive publicity the house garnered when it was on the market, because it once belonged to a famous actor.

Granddad's snapdragons, c. 1960

My mother, Jane Leslie Coombs, escorted by her father, 1953.
We kids would have turned our noses up at the brown trout Grandma was cooking in this picture - but her fudge-frosted cupcakes were legendary.

To our family, it will always be The House of Plenty. It is being restored by new owners, after having been neglected for many years after my grandparents sold it in the 1970s.  I've enjoyed keeping up with goings-on in that charming neighborhood at the blog: Under the Hollywood Sign.

I was in LA a couple weeks ago and took a drive up Beachwood Canyon.  A girlfriend and I hiked up the Secret Stairs to get a look at the house. The front has been re-landscaped and I felt like I was visiting a beloved old friend. 

The facade is missing the foliage I remember: shade trees, hydrangeas, camellias, and the statue of Saint Francis. But it looks lovingly cared for and inviting. Here's hoping the family moving in to The House of Plenty is blessed with an abundance of love and joyful memories to last a lifetime - and then some.

2835 Westshire Drive,  2014