The Other California
words and music © Erin Friedman

I’m California born and raised
My roots run deep in the golden state
There’s no glitter in the songs I play
No bright lights, surf or sand
I’m country as a three-chord song
This old guitar knows where I come from
And it’s The Other California
Made me who I am

Where Haggard rules
The cowboy rides
The Valley ends
And the mountains rise
I come from The Other California
The best of the West survives

North of the Shasta County line
The Other California
Where wild is a state of mind

There’s a spirit that cannot be tamed
Where pioneers crossed the Cascade Range
Whiskeytown remembers Gold Rush days
And a rowdy legacy
One part hawk and one part dove
We’ll fight for the things we love
It’s rugged, raw and real
Everything I'd like to be

Under the Sundial Bridge
words and music © Erin Friedman

 They crossed the Sundial Bridge hand in hand
Into their own fairytale romance
Twilight played behind the glass
They left behind a lonely past
Love found a time and a place at last

Run, river run, river run
Shadows spin under the sun
Time stands still
And forever begins with a kiss
Under the Sundial Bridge

 They cross the Sundial Bridge for river walks
Friday night jazz, Sunday coffee talks
Moon hangs over Lassen Peak
A diamond ring and he's down on one knee
She agrees to reach for eternity

 They'll cross the Sundial Bridge in years to come
Fireworks on the Fourth, the Fall salmon run
Guide their children by the hand
Find skippin' stones on the sand
Together remember just how forever began

Cottonwood Calling Me Home
words and music © Erin Friedman

It’s a Four-Star bull
It’s a  cowboy on an 8-second ride
It’s a rusty metal Main Street cattle drive
It’s a Front Street hitching post                                   
Digger pines and mighty oaks
Charms of the country life I left behind
It’s coyote crying
It’s the a red-tail riding the wind
It’s the moon rising in the sky
Where the High Sierra ends
A fiddle tune, a meadowlark
A place that knows my heart by heart
A song I long to hear again,  
A lullaby of memories   
Wild like I used to be
Cottonwood calling me
Calling me Home
It’s the Mother’s Day weekend parade and the Rodeo
It’s a homecoming game, cheering for the cardinal and gold
Stars and stripes at the Legion Hall
Wooden Indian standing tall
Shasta Bally dusted with Spring snow
A lullaby of memories   
Wild like I used to be
Cottonwood calling me
Calling me Home
I headed south on Highway Five
When I turned eighteen
Now there’s no doubt in my mind
I’m meant to be
Where cool is a June afternoon out on Cottonwood Creek
“Welcome Home” is a message on the park marquee
Neighbors wave and lend a hand
It’s still okay to take a stand
The spirit of the  West is runnin’ free
A lullaby of memories   
Wild like I used to be
Cottonwood calling me
Calling Me Home

The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown
words and music © Erin Friedman

Our morning coffee comes with heavy silence
In the nighttime we find refuge in our dreams
Like some mid-life cliché
We sleepwalk through the day
While the love of a lifetime slips away
They finally found
The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown
They found crystal caverns
Buried deep beneath the ground
A fortune in gold
In a mountain of stone
Surely we can find the love we lost
Right here at home    
I used to find an open invitation
In your eyes and in your tender touch
Like a postcard from a lonely place
You’re so far away these days
And I’m trying to find a reason I should stay
Too much to lose  –-  too much at stake
I’ll find my way back to you –
Whatever it takes

The Shadow of Shasta
words and music © Erin Friedman

Highway 89
Left The Shadow of Shasta behind
Had a wild streak a mile wide
And the kind of pride
That goes before a fall
Playin’ fast and loose
Left me battered – left me bruised
Pourin’ whiskey on my wounds
When I hit the wall
I’m northward bound -- a hundred miles south of Shasta
Prayers on my mind  - Hands on the wheel
If I kneel down  in The Shadow of Shasta
Will I rise
Will I fall
Will I heal?
Rough road ahead
‘Round this mountain of regret
Climbed in from the window ledge
And yet
I’m hangin’ in mid-air
Fire burns below
Cathedral crowned in snow
Beacon to a long-lost soul
Who hopes for tender mercy there
It’s a long road
From sorry to Mc Cloud
Where shadows
Are falling
On sacred stones
Sacred ground
The Hour of the Outlaw
words and music © 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

The Last Cowboy in Shasta County
words and music © Erin Friedman

He'll take coffee as day breaks over Lassen
Saddle up to the tune of a Gene Autry song
There's a full day of work waitin' out in the pasture
For an old man, a paint horse and a Hangin' Tree dog
He's the Last Cowboy in Shasta County
Keeping the wild in the West while he can
He'll ride out his seasons with red manzanita
Black Oak and blue skies
And the last of the gold Shasta sand
At the edges, his mem'ries grow misty
Like the yellowing photos of old rodeos
The legend survives on good rides and good whiskey
And a promise he made in good faith long ago
Gone are the days rough and rowdy
Hard times they carve ragged lines tough to cross
But hell will see hailstones before the last cowboy
Will piss on the fire and call in the dogs
words and music © Erin Friedman

Waitin’ at the downtown depot
With the winter- weary people
I’ll take the blame under heavy darkness
While the rest of Redding sleeps
North of town, the whistle cries
Signals flash, traveler’s rise
The southbound Coast Starlight and I
Have promises to keep
2:20 is a lonely time for leaving
Plenty of regrets onboard this train
I know to every time there is a season
2:20 is the time to ride away
From burning
Bridges on toward the morning
With pride and my side of the story
Face the west and fall asleep
To the rhythm of the wheels
Dream a dream of graceful endings
Of forgiving then forgetting
Start over far from Redding
With a courage strong as steel

The Cardboard Sign
words and music © Erin Friedman

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”

 Alav Hashalom   (May he rest in peace)
words and music © Erin Friedman

California State Historical Landmarks in Shasta County - NO. 377
 PIONEER BABY'S GRAVE - Charles, infant son of George and Helena Cohn Brownstein of Red Bluff, died December 14, 1864. He was buried near land established by the Shasta Hebrew Congregation as a Jewish cemetery in 185.. Since there was no Jewish burial ground in Red Bluff, Charles' parents made the arduous journey to Shasta to lay their baby to rest. Concern for the fate of the grave led to the rerouting of Highway 299 in 1923
Cruel cold wind burns my face
Grief it burns my soul
On the wretched road to the holy place
 Where I’ll let my baby go
Alav Hashalom
Cradled with his brethren
Alav Hashalom
In the arms of heaven
Alav Hashalom  --  Alav Hashalom
I’ll not forsake my faith
Or lay my burden down
A mother’s love reveals its strength
On the road to Shasta town
I’ll lay my face upon his grave
Unto the earth reborn
Scarred and stained with river clay
I’ll journey evermore

 Ride Away, Cowboy
words and music © Erin Friedman
Summer smoke darkens a sweltering sky
Sun's trying hard to break through
The cowboy put up one hell of a fight
Doing what good cowboys do
Hard times don’t travel that last lonesome road
And he’s achin’ to take up the reins
Hard as I try, I can’t justify
Keepin’ a cowboy in chains
So Ride Away, Cowboy
Your work here is done
Pack up the ponies and run
For horizons unknown on highways untried
Ride Away, Cowboy, ride
The hero sets out and the silence sets in 
Solemn and still and complete
Til the music within the whisperin’ wind
Echoes the comfort I need 

Shasta When She Shines
words and music © Erin Friedman

There's a season for laughter
A season for tears
We've reaped and sowed
And made this home
For twenty lucky years
Take the atlas out
Trace east-bound routes 
Through canyons fields and farms
Then twilight strikes the mountainside
and Shasta turns on her charms

Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Reminds me I'm not the leaving' kind
Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Siren of fire and snow
And I can't go

I plan my escape when
The Shasta summers blaze
But meadows lined with columbine
Conspire to make me stay
Seduced by trees
With golden leaves
In soft September sun
And I'm mesmerized
By her winter white
When December comes

Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Reminds me I'm not the leaving' kind
Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Siren of fire and snow
And I can't go

Troubles may come
Hide beauty divine 
behind the clouds
I will not run
I will stay 
Till they lay me 
In the ground

Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Reminds me I'm not the leaving' kind
Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Siren of fire and snow
And I can't go

Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines
Shasta, oh Shasta When She Shines



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