Ruthann Friedman

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Ruthann Friedman-Carlisle
Ruthann Friedman performing at the Comet Tavern in Seattle (2011)
Ruthann Friedman performing at the Comet Tavern in Seattle (2011)
Ruthann Friedman

(1944-07-06) July 6, 1944 (age 74)
Occupation singer-songwriter
Notable work
"Windy" (songwriter)
Spouse(s) Jeffrey Carlisle
Children 2 daughters

Ruthann Friedman (born July 6, 1944) is an American folk singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Early years

Born in Bronx, New York,[1] Friedman spent her formative years in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles after her family moved to Southern California when she was 10.[2] She started playing guitar at the age of eight while listening to Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Josh White.

After moving to California, Friedman recalled feeling "very isolated" with few friends, so she started playing guitar in her room.[2] Her first song gained her a spot on the television talent show Rocket to Stardom at age twelve. While at Ulysses S. Grant High School, she started playing "Hoot Nights" at The Troubadour in West Hollywood,[2][3] where she met the musicians Steve Mann and Hoyt Axton and became part of the growing musical scene of Los Angeles.


Her first paid performance was at the Green Spider Coffee House in Denver, Colorado at the age of nineteen. Soon she was part of the "Hippie Migration," traveling the California Coast and living off earnings from her performances. While staying in San Francisco, California, Friedman befriended the members of Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and Janis Joplin. Her friendship with Van Dyke Parks not only influenced her deep commitment to music but also introduced her to The Association, who recorded her song "Windy" in 1967. Friedman wrote "Windy" in 20 minutes while living in an apartment in David Crosby's house.[3]

Two years later, Constant Companion, her first solo album, was released by Reprise Records.[4] She also wrote and sang the songs for the cult movie The Peace Killers,[5] released in 1971. While on tour promoting the album, Friedman suddenly returned to her family's Los Angeles home after a family tragedy and stopped recording music altogether in 1972–73.[2]

In 2006, Water, a San Francisco label, reissued Constant Companion,[4] renewing interest in Friedman's music. Prior to the 2006 reissue, Friedman had been out of the music business for more than thirty years, spending the intervening time running her own stationery company, raising two daughters and earning a degree in English from UCLA.[6] Later in 2006, Water released a compilation of rare and previously unreleased home recordings from 1965–1971, Hurried Life.[7]

After the re-release of Constant Companion, Friedman was invited to play at a local festival. She recalls that she had "to learn to play [guitar] again" and was taught the songs from her album by a guitarist at a local folk venue, McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, but "it took about two years [of practicing] for me to get my chops back."[3] Friedman has been performing locally in Los Angeles since that time.


Constant Companion

  • Released: 1969[4]
  • Format: LP, CD
  • Label: Reprise
  • Writers: Ruthann Friedman (tracks 2-12); Charles Shaw, Dick Kuhn, Jerry Kanner (track 1)
  • Producer: Joe Wissert
  • Tracks: Twelve
  • Bonus tracks: One (2006 reissue)
    Twelve (The Complete Constant Companion Sessions 2014 re-release)

"Carry On (Glittering Dancer)" from the album Constant Companion (2006 and 2014 reissues)

  • Released: 1970[8]
  • Format: 7" LP
  • Label: Reprise
  • Writer: Ruthann Friedman
  • Producer: Van Dyke Parks, Kirby Johnson
  • Tracks: One

Hurried Life (Lost Recordings 1965–1971)

  • Released: 2006[7]
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Water
  • Writers: Ruthann Friedman; Friedman and Peter Kaukonen (track 4); Tandyn Almer (track 15)
  • Tracks: Fifteen

White Dove / Motorcycle Madness

  • Released: 2011[9]
  • Format: 7" LP
  • Label: Ether
  • Writer: Ruthann Friedman
  • Producer: Van Dyke Parks, Kirby Johnson
  • Tracks: Two


  • Released: 2013[10]
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Wolfgang Records
  • Tracks: Eleven

Windy, A Ruthann Friedman Songbook

  • Released: 2013[11]
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Now Sounds
  • Tracks: Eighteen


  1. ^ Friedman, Ruthann (14 February 2007). "Ruthann Friedman: About (autobiography)". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Friedman, Ruthann (10 July 2014). "Ruthann Friedman: See things as new" (Interview). Interviewed by Daiana Feuer. LA Record. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Friedman, Ruthann (15 April 2014). "Ruthann Friedman - "Windy"" (Interview). Interviewed by Bruce Pollock. Song Facts. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Constant Companion at Discogs (list of releases)
  5. ^ The Peace Killers on IMDb
  6. ^ Kornelis, Chris (5 April 2011). "Everyone knows "Windy"". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b Hurried Life (Lost Recordings 1965–1971) at Discogs
  8. ^ "Carry On (Glittering Dancer)" at Discogs
  9. ^ "White Dove / Motorcycle Madness" at Discogs
  10. ^ Chinatown at Discogs
  11. ^ Windy, A Ruthann Friedman Songbook at Discogs

External links

  • Friedman, Ruthann (2007). "Official website". Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  • Ruthann Friedman's facebook website
  • The New Los Angeles Folk Festival interviews Ruthann Friedman
  • Friedman, Ruthann (15 October 2014). "Ruthann Friedman's Hurried Life" (Interview). Interviewed by Carey Farrell. Rebeat Magazine. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  • Horowitz, Steve (9 July 2014). "Review: Ruthann Friedman — Chinatown". Pop Matters. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  • Wappler, Margaret (8 April 2011). "Folk singers Linda Perhacs and Ruthann Friedman drift down from the canyons to McCabe's on Sunday". Los Angeles Times [blogs]. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
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