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: