Eric Friedman / Blog

Divide & Conquer

This song wrote itself, as they say, on the ukelele. Could be the title track on the album we're working on for the end of the year, or definitely by our little album release show at the Lily Pad in January. Might still add real drums, if we can work that out… otherwise Caroline's vocals and added guitar track have this song sounding close to finished.


This song came quickly on the piano... had to bury the cheesy Nord piano in the mix though. Next more serious recording I'll use a real piano. But I think the banjo and acoustic guitar part are adding a lot and deserve to be featured too. Will see if this song works with the band... if so, look for another version soon. Although I think the band has a lot of new songs to record already. Anyway, this one was fun to develop over a few basement recording sessions.

No Doubt About It

Two of three drama queens at least here, with Sydney subbing for our third by bringing in her toy percussion set. Which is actually used throughout, from the wooden spoon contraption to the triangle. We had to cut this song from our last show when we were running short on time, but it should work well live. Will gain drums, but we'll lose the synths, ukelele and the thumb piano, the last of which barely cuts through the mix here anyway.


The picture came first for this song... coming across "stump pond" on a winter hike. The song was written all at once on my new acoustic, and then the lyrics start out about the hike but really end up thinking about borderlands in other places. Much thanks to my brother for adding great bass and lead and slide guitar tracks. And Caroline was able to add vocals from afar as well, making this a dropbox hit!


Learned this song a while ago from the Dylan bootleg series and thought it would make a nice cover for the drama queens. Caroline adds nice vocals to this version and an acoustic guitar track as well. I tried out my new Martin on one track doubling the main guitar part on my nylon string. Also added banjo and then a warm synth part to give it a nice full sound on some of the chord changes.

Plea to the Valkyrie

Many thanks to Caroline Callahan for lending her vocals to this tune, really elevating it from the level I could get it to by myself. I had this song in the works for a couple months and the lyrics started with just the phonetic sounds of the chorus... I was singing "Mallory" or "Valerie" until my wife objected demanding to know who they were... so then I changed it to "Valkyrie," looked up the word -- Norse goddess of death -- and the rest of the lyrics wrote themselves after that. I have thrown the banjo into a bunch of songs so far but I think it works better in this song than many of the others. Was trying to keep it very sparse but ended up putting in a wurlitzer track and then Caroline added the nice organ track as well. Anyway, this one should make the cut if I ever can put songs together into an album.

Devil Song - acoustic version

Major contributions from Caroline Callahan on this version -- vocals, drums and ukelele.I've been playing with her band recently and we're trying to do a version of this tune. Thanks to my brother, Marc, as well for letting us record this in his studio. We just had a few hours, so with more time I think we could have filled in the end part after the verses a bit better... right now my electric guitar comes in a little abruptly there and then I'm not sure it adds a whole lot. But the ukelele adds to the song really nicely, I think, and then Caroline's vocals make me want to put the volume on my vocal track down even further... or to zero.

Little Penny

This song was mostly recorded to get it out of my head... and because I think I can use part of it in the soundtrack to my completely serious documentary on office-chair basketball that I'm filming in rare, spare moments at work. I felt a little out of my element with the bouncy nature of this tune, especially trying to sing to it. But big thanks and credit to my brother for laying down a real lead guitar track on this one. I do a tiny bit of lead right before the first verse, but the rest is all-pro work from an actual accomplished musician. Anyway, maybe this one will grow on me more over time... but for now I'm happy to move on to the next tune that's coming together on the vinyl string.

Bitter Pill

Recorded in the last few days of 2011, this is sort of a good song to wrap up a year and look forward. I've had the melody and chords for this song for a while -- wasn't sure I like the transition from the first part to the double-time chorus and kept waiting to see if I could come up with anything else for this one. But maybe it works as a short and simple tune. If the first line of the song sounds out of left field it was... it was a line I woke up saying one day earlier this year. Then the rest of the lyrics are vaguely referring to some trials and tribulations people I know are going through this year... not at all uncommon in this "mid-life" stage I guess. So if you think you've messed up until this point, you've got a whole 'nother lifetime to either find happiness or just keep on suffering through... yikes. Let's hope it's the former... guess that's why we say *happy* new year. -Eric

Bonus Army Blues

This one came together quickly on the guitar, but took quite a bit longer to put words to it. Borrowed ideas from a NPR story on the Bonus Army, post WWI vets who camped out in Washington during the Depression for an adjustment allowance they had been promised. They had a lot of popular support but ended up having their camp torched by our government. Then they got their bonuses a few hard years later. Anyway, I may have overused my new fuzz pedal on this tune... on bass, guitars, I think even on part of the keys track. Then I had fun with the bitcrusher effect built in to Garageband on one guitar in the last half of the song.