Still Married Band Blog

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.

Redding: We're #1 ....Sorta 

Okay: We're number 187. Whatever.

I was a little irked at the report in USA Today and elsewhere, 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

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:

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


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.


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:

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

Heart Shaped Stones Giveaway 

Someday I'm going to write a romantic, sentimental ballad for Valentine's Day.

But today is NOT that day.

If you're looking for a sweet, sappy love song to celebrate this day of romance,  keep looking.  But if you like your (FREE!) Valentine's Day tunes with a dose heartbreak, a twist of revenge and a splash of murder, then please help yourself to "Heart Shaped Stones."

I wrote this song many years ago - and it's still one of my favorites to sing. Our kids think it's kind of creepy --  and that's part of what I like about it.

So whether you're happily single, looking for love, or celebrating the day with your One and Only, please hop on over to our website for a free download of "Heart Shaped Stones."

                   Heart Shaped Stones at the Still Married website.

Hope you get chocolate and champagne and NOT stones. Unless, of course, they're diamonds.

One Artist, Two Venues 

Redding’s Cultural Cruise 2014 is coming up this Friday, and multi-talented artist Will Miller will be wearing two hats -- doing his best to be at two places at once.

Will Miller, the singer-songwriter, will be playing a half-hour set of original music at Redding City Hall at 4:30 as part of the North State Songwriters Showcase. Then he’ll high-tail it across town to the Carter House, where his painting, Paradise, is up for a prize in the North Valley Art League Annual National Juried Show.

I asked Will about the challenges of being both a songwriter and a visual artist.

“My passion for creativity is a driving force, and when engaged is an unstoppable flow that just spills all over the place (sometimes hard to contain and always a mess)…..Painting and songwriting both have different disciplines, rules, and skills to hone.  

On the songwriter side of the house, when flows of emotional things happen in my life I write down notes to remind my self of how I felt, or a funny thing that happened, then later when I hear music pieces that touch my soul, then I search thru my notes and write my songs using the notes as reference…
In painting, it is a discipline of color and light matching, a drill that encompasses every brush stroke… I study my compositions and relive every inch as I paint.


Whatever skill sets I have acquired with songwriting and painting I owe all to my intense focus, self-discipline, love of seeing smiles and passion for creating things.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s Cultural Cruise?

“Smiles and a little toe tapping… to bring a thought of joy or happiness with my creations, whether musical or artistic to the world is what floats my boat…  of course winning best of show at the league show would definitely make my year.”

In addition to being an artist, Will is a veteran, father of five and grandfather to nine. He’s  currently college art student,  Cottonwood resident and fine arts advocate.

The Cultural Cruise is a city-wide event for the whole family -- the map of venues is here: