Ruthann Friedman
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Ruthann Friedman

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Band Folk Jazz

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Sep
02
Ruthann Friedman @ Henfling's Firehouse Tavern

Santa Cruz, California, USA

Santa Cruz, California, USA

Jul
13
Ruthann Friedman @ The Starry Plough

Berkeley, California, USA

Berkeley, California, USA

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Music

Press


Cover Story: Crosby Stills Nash and Young
October 18th, 1969 No 44

BIG SUR (Wildly abbreviated for this web site)
By Jerry Hopkins

Big Sur, Calif. - Some of the finest folk singers and musicians in the world positioned themselves on the edge of some of America's most glorious scenery for a farewell to summer and a celebration of nonviolence in mid-September. It was the sixth annual Big Sur Folk Festival, one of the season's smallest (in attendance) and loveliest (in mood)...

...one of the truly fine but sadly unrecognized singer songwriters, Ruthann Friedman, spun three superb musical poems, that nearly topped everything that had come before...
Cover Story: Crosby Stills Nash and Young
October 18th, 1969 No 44

- Rolling Stone


LATIMES.COM.com July 22, 2006

Music fest is a many-octaved thing
Outsider artists come together for "5 Nights of Soleros and Bandoleros" to give "folk" a punky, esoteric, jazzy tinge.
By Ann Powers, Times Staff Writer

Devendra Banhart was as pleased as tequila-laced punch, holding his empty margarita glass proudly in the El Cid courtyard Tuesday as the first installment of the ambitious five-night outsider folk music festival he programmed slowly turned into a sellout.

He laughed when someone commented on all the bearded males in the room. "It doesn't take any work to grow a beard," he said. "You just let it happen." That's rather like the scene the gifted singer-songwriter has helped define, made up of lone wolves and outsider collectives emerging out of dusty corners from Venice to Granada...

...The only truly notable performer Wednesday couldn't have been more different. Ruthann Friedman took the stage with unassuming sweetness... The 62-year-old Los Angeles resident, who recorded one album in 1969 that was recently reissued, is best known for writing the Association's vanilla pop classic "Windy," but her set at El Cid showed her talent beyond one-hit-wonder status.
Friedman, a former housemate of David Crosby and the Jefferson Airplane, showed the influence of her peers, but her jazz-touched, melodically complex songs went beyond mere hippie confessions. ...As she shared stories from her long, strange trip, many of the festival's other performers sat rapt, grateful that Banhart had rescued a mentor from obscurity...

- Los Angeles times


Major influenceAuthor: Brett Lemke
Added: 05/06/2007
RUTHANN FRIEDMAN: Quite possibly one of the major influences in vocal technique and guitar style for contemporary female songwriters in the vein of Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco, Ruthann Friedman's album Hurried Life is a collection of lost recordings from 1965 to 1973. Most notably known for her folk-pop single “Windy”, she contributes extensively to the liner notes of the record, and answers questions about her music, technique, and life seperate from recording. Released on San Francisco’s Water Records in 2007, Hurried Life is an amazing spyglass into her impact on the San Francisco Folk & Blues scene. www.ruthannfriedman.com
- Maiximum Ink


Palo Alto Times
April 17, 1968
by Terry Ryan

There were few people there to hear them, but Petrus--a rock group with something to say and a fine way to say it--opened for three nights at the Poppycock in Palo Alto Tuesday night.

Talent and music are commodities that Petrus has in abundance.

Many of it songs were written by members of the group itself, and they packed a tremendous amount of music into the evening.

Vocalist Ruthann Friedman provided the spark that ignited Petrus. She sings with a superabundance of intensity, yet manages to come through with reasonable clarity. She has a deep, throaty voice that fitted well with the sound of three guitars.

...."Morning Becomes You" one of Friedman's songs, had to be the most hauntingly beautiful piece Petrus did all evening...

...Another song that could become popular if given the right exposure was "Panther" Miss Friedman rapped it out as if she came out of the jungle with it...
- Palo Alto Times


SUNDAY November 12th at 8pm
LOBOT GALLERY


Ruthann Friedman is best known (or unknown) for writing the '67 hit "windy" for her buddies in The Association. However, her lone album from 1968 is the real thing: not bubblegum pop, but all introspective guitar and vocals, dark and stunningly beautiful songs. Water records recently reissued this album on cd for the first time, along with a bonus track produced by her buddy Van Dyke Parks. And Ruthann has recently begun playing again after a 35 year hiatus! her fourth show this year (and in the past 35 years!) will be at lobot on sunday. her previous shows have been at a devendra banhart curated festival in LA and Arthur Nights. before that i think her last show was in 1969 in big sur with joni mitchell! crazy. she is a wonderful person and lots of stories to tell and some brand new songs, too.
.

- Nat Russell


reviewed by Jamie Townsend

online music magazine and proponent of proper booth plurality

Artist: Ruthann Friedman

Album: Constant Companion
Label: Water

Water Records continues to display pysch-folk’s enormous influence on the modern music scene by reissuing this almost forgotten treasure from 1969. Most well know for her song “Windy,” which became a hit in 1967 when performed by The Association, Ruthann Friedman struck real gold with her single solo album “Constant Companion.” Companion veers between the gentle folk melodies and fairy tales of Vashti Bunyan and the dark ruminations of Bill Fay, creating a singular album peopled with pipers and magic men.

Friedman’s songs, some written when she was very young, reflect a child’s world seen through adult eyes; its magic dampened by a slowly growing realization of time and endless change. Ever the shadow, Friedman slips in and out of the light throughout the course of tracks like “Piper’s Call,” “Fairy Prince Rainbow Man,” and the anthemic “People,” where Friedman digs deep below the surface of a dreaming culture. These songs serve as a counterpoint to the idealism of 60s culture as Friedman searches for truth in a “wicked wicked world.”

Friedman’s smoothly intricate guitar playing supports her hugely expressive voice, equal parts Grace Slick and contemporary folk singer Joanna Newsome. She has the type of voice that reminds listeners that “singer” has just as much value in the equation as “songwriter.” Song such as “Danny” and “Look Up to the Sun” display the tension and release of a wavering blues chanteuse. Here she slides in and out of notes, punctuating verses with trills and repetitions before settling into strides of melancholy melodicism.

As an added bonus this reissue includes the Van Dyke Parks produced single “Carry On (Glittering Dancer") a jumble of strings and horns that showcases Friedman’s voice in a whole new setting. As usual Parks injects a sense of innocence and joy into his arrangement creating a musical march to support Friedman’s childlike wonder.

The three lone songs Friedman performed at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1969, passed like spirit in between sets from Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, artists who received their due recognition. Now its Ruthann’s turn. - Foxy digitalis



at othermusic.com. New York. RUTHANN FRIEDMAN Constant Companion Water continues their seamless reissue streak with this '69 find, the lone album by LA-based folksinger Friedman who a few years earlier had found success by penning "Windy" for the Association. Fans of the recent psych-folk implosion (and hallucinogens) could ostensibly crawl inside this gorgeous, unadorned album of lyrical fantasy, gentle yet sturdy acoustic accompaniment, and unmistakable of-the-times demeanor, and quite possibly live contentedly within it forever... - othermusic.com New York


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27:
LA RECORD REVIEWS
The line-up featured the old, the young, and a few
performers of indeterminate age. Forever youthful Ruthann Friedman
took to the stage and amidst plucks on her guitar reminisced about the ’60s, spending time with the Association, and reminding the crowd why she is a folk legend by playing her hit “Windy.”
(AG)
- ONLINE MAGAZINE


Discography

1969: Constant Companion
Warner Bothers Reprise
Reissued by Water Records 2005

2006: Hurried Life: the lost recordings 1965-1971
Water Records

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

In 1966, Ruthann’s life changed forever after the 23 year old songwriter played a new tune for her friends in The Association.

They recorded “Windy” and it became a huge hit. Covered countless times over the years, by the likes of Wes Montgomery and Astrud Gilberto, it remains a staple of classic top 40 radio to this day.

Windy’s success allowed Ruthann the freedom to develop her skills as a writer, guitarist and vocalist. She worked and played with folks as varied as Dr. John and Neil Young. and recorded for A&M with Tommy La Puma as a soloist and with her rock band Petrus formed with Peter Kaukonen. In 1969 Ruthann recorded her first
Album “Constant Companion” for Warner Reprise Records. Its stripped-down jazz influenced guitar, vocals and haunting lyrics revealed a dark place, rich with lyrical fantasy, as well as real and tangible magic. Ruthann was brought up on stage at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1969 by Joni Mitchell who relinquished half her set to Ruthann. The reviewers loved her...great reviews in Rolling Stone and the Free Press. Concert and festival appearances followed. She was involved in the music scenes both in San Francisco and LA. Singing with Country Joe and the Fish...palling around with the music luminaries of the day. Playing the Troubador and many other clubs up and down the coast. Experimenting with various realities...

In 2006, Water, a successful reissue label from San Francisco, released Ruthann’s album "Constant Companion" on cd to universal critical acclaim. Following the reissue, Devendra Banhart curated and invited Ruthann to play an intimate festival, her first show in almost thirty years. Soon after the release of "Constant Companion," Water and Ruthann put together a compilation of rare,
unreleased, and home recordings from 1966-1971 titled "Hurried Life." Again, her music received critical praise which led to a set at Arthur Fest, curated and presented by the now legendary Arthur Magazine’s editor Jay Babcock. Both appearances and the release of Hurried Life were a great success and inspired Ruthann to begin playing and writing music again.

She now has most recently played at the Arthur Magazine Benefit and at small clubs up in the Bay area and around Los Angeles. She was also recently named "Astral Folk Goddess #7" by the Galactic Zoo Dossier Magazine and is a legend among the new hipsters and folkies alike.

Ruthann has written new songs, with lyrics that reflect a new set of concerns in this modern day. Her sound builds upon past accomplishments while growing in both musical and lyrical complexity.
New recordings are underway with assistance from
friends such as Peter Kaukonen and Van Dyke Parks.

The times in which Ruthann wrote her first songs were filled with protest, social upheaval, and personal discovery. However, it’s easy to see how appropriate and relevant her songs are to these troubled times. Some things don’t change, some experiences are universal, and we still ask questions that are thought provoking while unanswerable, regardless of when we were born.