all words and music © Erin Friedman
River Whispers

“Kneel before the queen and sift
The sparkling sands, the regal gifts”
Fools rush in, wise men resist
The River Whispers - to them all
The River Whispers  -- The river sings
Races through ages, remembering
Love songs and lullabies
Fables and ancient rhymes
River Whispers drifitin’ by
River Whispers driftin’ by
“The wild west is yours to tame
Build a mountain – move the rain
Drench the thirsty waves of grain”
The River Whispers - and they came
Kestrel cries and voices reach
Thru tangled vines,  miner’s debris
A yellow rose among fallen leaves
The River Whispers – to me
Heart Shaped Stones
She hoped for hearts and flowers, maybe wedding bells
Instead she got the valentine from hell
A year has passed, but she pictures it like yesterday
The way he laughed, got in his truck and drove away
She walks down by the riverside collecting valentines
Heart Shaped Stones aren’t hard to find
Everyday she fills her pockets up
With stones that remind her of
The hard-hearted man she used to love
The river wields a mighty power all its own
Making pretty things from shapeless sand and stone
She washes out her wounds and heals her scars
Strolls along the shore searchin’ for hearts
 They found his pick-up wrecked beneath the overpass
His battered body in a pool of blood and shattered glass
The case remains unsolved – motive unknown
But the cause of death was Heart Shaped Stones
A woman with an ax to grind
Can pitch a pretty mean valentine
Those Heart Shaped Stones work every time
It Was a Wonderful Life
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
Can we hit rewind – get our happy ending this time?
Make this Christmas dream of mine come true?

I won’t ask why
I won’t cry and make a scene
I won’t add fire
To this town’s gossip machine
I finally pulled myself together
I’ll forgive if you’ll forget her
Let’s go walk down by the river
Try to work this out –
Just you and me
Oh, Sacramento
Shasta snow bound for the bay
We’ll lay our burdens by
The Sacramento riverside
Let the water carry them away
We’ll take our time
Where the manzanita grows
And the river winds
Quiet conversation flows
Toss a penny - make a wish
Underneath the Court Street Bridge
We’ve faced tougher times than this
We’ll make our promises
and take them home
Love so strong
So patient with us both
On and on
The river rolls
The river rolls
Pretty Pieces
Not quite a mem’ry
More like a fever dream
Greensleeves, gray mist
Salt sea on our lips
White sails, golden cliffs
Pretty Pieces
Of a mystery, a mystery
All the Pretty Pieces gather
Fall through the dream catcher
Take their place in the design
Once upon a long ago
Fate spun her kaleidoscope
Scattered all the Pretty Pieces
Like stardust fallin’ from the sky
Minstrel sings of love
Hawk fells a mourning dove
Hidden dell,  sudden storm
Ship’s bell, a distant shore
Fare-the-well, troubadour
Pretty Pieces
Nothing more for us, for us
 all words and music © Erin Friedman
The Rosary Ring
His suits were set out for  St. Vincent de Paul
His books packed  in boxes stacked up the hall
Eighty-two years of memories – all spoken for
She only kept  one thing:
The Rosary Ring that he wore
A silver link
On a silver chain
Rosary Ring
Circle of faith
Over and over again
Begins where it ends
She journeys into the unknown
The Rosary Ring brings her home
When her courage is tested, her spirits are weak
She’ll reach for the necklace – count on the beads
Whisper the words she learned eagerly at his knee
Why it quiets her mind, strikes of divine mystery
The Turf o’ Tullamore
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
The Cardboard Sign
Saw him just ten miles south
Of the Shasta County line
An old hobo with his thumb out
Holding up a Cardboard Sign
His ragged jeans were washed in dirt
His flannel shirt was frayed
On his sign was a single word
Made me hit the brakes
The Cardboard Sign he held to his chest
Told the passers-by where he was headed next
The lines on his face  said
“Weary to the bone”
His eyes said “Please”
His sign said “HOME”
Had a voice like an old dirt road
And a hundred dusty stories
Ladies, moonshine and rodeos
Freight trains bound for glory
He said, “There’s a price for runnin’ wild
And I paid my dues in Memphis
Did my time, made up my mind
Now it’s time for mending fences”
At the end of a gravel drive
Just outside McCloud
He said “I’m much obliged
Here’s where I get out”
A woman waving from the porch
Came running down to meet him
I turned around and headed for
The place that I’d been leavin’
The Cardboard Sign
He tossed on the seat
Was a one-word lifeline
That old man threw to me
The lines on his face  said
“Weary to the bone”
His eyes said “Please”
His sign said “HOME”

Somebody Else
Not long ago
She kept her voice low
Kept her rhymes in the pocket of her jeans
Then she fell through the looking glass
And now she’s looking back
At someone she’s never really seen
She used to be Somebody Else
She used to keep her secrets to herself
She, she used to be
Somebody Else
In the mirror
Stares a frightened deer
Caught in the glare of  the high beams
She’ll face her fear and stand her ground
Because she likes the sound
Of thunder and the charge of the lightning
The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store
Buy, sell or trade
Find you some hand-me-down faith
The cast-offs are saved
In the name of the lord
At The Sacred Heart Secondhand Store
The neon sign flickers to life
The second time she flips the switch
The Sacred Heart Secondhand store
Is in good hands
Weekdays from 10 until 6
The demons she wrestled
Are all kept at bay
By the spirit that blessed her
With the power of grace
She’ll wipe dust from the Lladro Madonna
Polish  the gold wedding bands
Here among the unwashed
and unwanted
She’s the angel of One More Last Chance
Hers came by the river
Where she lay in the dark
Was gently delivered
Into His Sacred Heart
Shut Up in the Key of G
The crowd was loud
Slammin down dice
The band floundered
Through “Tequila Sunrise”
We hit the last chord and we bowed
When a drunk at the back of the room
Gave a shout
 “If you’re takin’  requests from us
I suggest ya Shut Up”
Shut Up, Shut Up
The crowd goes wild when we sing
 “Shut Up!” they say it
We’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the Key of G
Shut Up
Brings them all to their feet
Ask and you shall receive
“Shut Up” they say it
We’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the Key of G
You never know
Where inspiration comes from
As anthems go
It’s not “Born to Run”
But it suits us and we’re indebted
We owe the hecklers
Co-writer credit
A rowdy crowd
But fortunately
They kept their shouts
 all words and music © Erin Friedman