The Shadow of Shasta
~  Still Married  ~

 all words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman
The Shadow of Shasta
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

Face to Face
She ambles like a scarecrow
From the depot to the Quick-Mart
All the ragged things she owns
Piled in her shopping cart
Pleading with the voices
Only she can hear
Me? – I make a choice as she draws near
I cross the street
So I don’t have to meet her
Face to Face
Bless the nighttime for the darkness
Bless the shadows for the softness
Bless the dreamless sleep for reaching me
Like healing hands
Thankfully, tomorrow waits
Beyond the slumber’s saving grace
Soon enough I’ll go Face to Face
With who I am
Light a candle on the mantel
Pour a shot of inspiration
Wait at my piano
For an honest revelation
Keys unlock a truth
I’d rather live without
Drink it down – sing a song about
Somebody else
Suddenly I find myself
Face to Face
The Lost Falls of Whiskeytown
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
Halfway Home
Halfway between the earth and sky
Which way is home to a lightening strike?
Racing full speed down a one-way street
Heading the wrong way gets me halfway to my destiny
Half a smile ‘cause I don’t get the joke
Half a step behind ‘cause I don’t watch the road
Half a pint of Guinness at Cantina Mexico Twice as far left to go
I’m Halfway Home – Halfway Home
Tellin’ half the truth in three-quarter time
Weave a web of doubt in every other line
Half empty or half full – I  don’t give a damn
Cuz it don’t matter  when it shatters in your hand
The Rice Fields of Colusa County
You say there’s nothin’ left to talk about
You’ve compromised enough
You  made your last sacrifice
In the name of love
I can’t watch you pack in silence
So with a heavy heart I turn 
And watch The Rice Fields of Colusa County burn
They’ve set fire to The Rice Fields of Colusa County
April rains will turn the charred remains to green
You’re heading south on Highway 5
 without me
Leavin’ a bitter smoke and little hope for spring
There’s ashes on the windowsill
Dark clouds rise on cue
Promises go up in smoke
As your taillights fade from view
I’ve survived some troubles times
But this time I won’t heal
Like The Rice Fields of Colusa County will
After years and years of passion
Despite how hard we tried
In the end, it’s ashes to ashes –
Fallin’ from the sky
Even Love
Blackberries were late this year
Bluebells all but disappeared
And an August rain fell down like summer tears
Everything I thought I knew
Everything I promised you
Is shifting like the autumn wind away from here
Even love – in all its glory
Kneels before September
Even Love ends some sad stories
With a  white flag of surrender
Even though we were told
Love would conquer all
Even Love won’t hold back the fall
Turn around -- the summer’s gone
Empty house echoes “What went wrong?”
A For Sale  sign and dry leaves on the lawn
Slow dance to a long good bye
Song ends, but we hold tight
In the silence, Even Love is movin’ on
I was born a miller’s daughter
Pressed into the pages of a fairy tale
No minstrel -- I’m not free to wander
Beyond the reaches of this spinnin’ carousel
With these simple gifts of heart and soul
I will toil on my own
Spinning my straw into gold
Spinning, Spinning
Spinning my straw into gold
I will take my pay in pleasure
Strike no desperate bargain in the woods
A truth , well-told, is mine to treasure
Riches spun from a sheaf of honest goods
Alav Hashalom   (May he rest in peace)
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
Nobody in Nashville*
by Erin Friedman and Eddie Miller
She said “I believe in dreaming” and she said  “I believe in you
And I believe that Tennessee could make your dreams come true”
She gave me the airfare
 I gave it everything I had
And Nobody in Nashville gave a damn
I could knock on doors on Music Row ‘til my knuckles bleed
Bare my soul to a restless crowd I’ll never please
I can be a Nobody in Nashville all my life
Or go on home
Make my biggest fan my wife
I used to play the rodeo I
Played the fairgrounds in the Fall
The audience was always good to me at the OK Corral
Yelling for an encore was the lady I adore
And Nobody in Nashville wanted more
No concert dates, no screamin’ fans
No Opry stage, that’s OK
I’ve got plans
Someday I’ll sing lullabies for a sleepy little one
Sundays sing Amazing Grace for the Father and the Son
Love songs by the fireside will be for her alone
 ‘Cause Nobody in Nashville is goin’ home
The Truth
Starry-eyed harmony
Love songs like they were meant to be
Poured forth with honesty
In a voice that speaks The Truth
When The Truth refuses to rhyme
A clear blue sky rains down a bitter wine
Roses die -  wither on the vine
And the music stops -- on a dime
Stars collide then explode
Truth arrives in a mislaid note
Strikes like a lightning bolt
When she unfolds The Truth
Melodies, memories
Altered by reality
Silence echoes endlessly
Now that she can see The Truth
Woman Getting’ Gone
It’s the goodbye message blinking on your answer machine
The missing collection of Willie Nelson CDs
The rumble of a U-Haul truck bound for parts unknown
The sound of a Woman Gettin’ Gone
The sound of a woman - 
A Woman Gettin’ Gone
Later days, see ya, so long
You fed me lies – I spit ‘em out
Time after time you let me down
So I’ll leave you with the sound
Of a Woman Gettin’Gone
Gettin’ gone for good
My cell phone keeps on ringing - but you’re wastin’ your time
I tossed it out the window when I
Crossed the county line
I’m cruising Highway 10 to On The Road Again and I’m singin’ along
The sound of a Woman Gettin’ Gone
No tears – no long good bye
The only thing you’re gonna hear tonight
Possum in the Hen House
Night full-a pickin -- belly full-a beans
Full moon shining through the trees
Settle in to catch some zzz’s
But papa won’t sleep tonight
Possum in the Hen House
Midnight chicken fight
Possum in the Hen House
Papa won’t sleep tonight
Our chickens are no docile brood
They’ll fuss and fight and they’ll abuse
Any critter dare disturb their roost
Like the Possum in the Hen House
They’re the bad birds of the neighborhood
Meanest chicks in Cottonwood
Twas a fowl deed and they done it good
To the Possum in the Hen House
Feathers flew – the battle raged
A friendly late night search for eggs
Ended at the pearly gates
For The Possum in the Hen House
Their cruelty rivaled KFC’s
That fascist flock of feathered fiends
Made marsupial mincemeat
Of the Possum in the Hen House
Cowboy Suite:
Rodeo Means Goodbye
They call him a legend
A hero,  he rides high
He can go eight seconds
With the meanest beast alive
But to her he’s just
The man she loves
One moment at a time
She’s come to know
Rodeo Means Good-bye
He calls her from Phoenix
Sends his love from San Antone
She’ll meet him in Salinas
And hold him all night long
Five AM
He’s gone again
By six, her eyes are dry
She’s come to know
Rodeo Means Good-bye
Lovin’ a cowboy means believin’
In dreams that ride away
Holdin’  on to promises
When you can’t reach the reins
In the grandstand
While they’re cheering, silently you pray
He’ll say “good bye” to rodeo someday….
The call came from Denver
The final ride - a mile high
A legend lives forever
But a man runs out of time
Brave and strong
For way too long
She’s run out of tears to cry 
She’s come to know
Rodeo Means Good-bye
Cowboy on Her Mind*
by Erin Friedman and HT Tyner
In a high-rise corner office
She’ll crunch numbers for the bosses
Spend all day working on the bottom line
It’s the long ride home that does it
DJ says, “Here’s Lyle Lovett”
And she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind
And the Cowboy on Her Mind
Is the brave and wild kind
Could not be tamed --  Lord knows she tried
Silver buckle – Cuervo Gold
 “Cowboy Man” on the stereo
On her own with a Cowboy on Her Mind
Her ghostly hero rides in
She takes her place beside him
Taste the kisses mixed with salt and lime
The man she lost in Colorado
Will be gone again tomorrow
But she’ll spend tonight
With a Cowboy on Her Mind
Ride Away, Cowboy
Leaves of October lie buried in snow
Nights growin’ colder and long
Seasons surrender and trees have let go
The cowboy just keeps holdin’ on
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