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California Songs

The California Report | Friday, Mar 22, 2013, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Dave Stamey's 'The Vaquero Song'

Cowboy singer Dave Stamey's "Vaquero Song" is a nostalgic look back at the Rancho era of the 1840s, when California was still part of Mexico, and vaqueros, or cowboys, rode the range. Stamey lived for 25 years on the site of one of the historic ranchos on the Central Coast, now the town of Nipomo. We spoke to him about California's first cowboys and the intersections of past and present as part of our "California Songs" series.

The California Report | Friday, Mar 08, 2013, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Lyrics Born's 'The Bay'

The San Francisco Bay Area has inspired more than its share of music, from Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" to Tony Bennett, who left his heart in San Francisco, and "Lights" by Journey, to name just three. Add to that Berkeley-based rapper Tom Shimura -- aka Lyrics Born -- who regularly tweets and writes about life in the Bay Area. As part of our "California Songs" series, he talks with us about the inspiration for his song, "The Bay."

The California Report | Friday, Jan 04, 2013, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Alma Desnuda's 'Two Days Three Nights'

Our occasional series on California songs continues with Chris Bryden, lead singer of the San Francisco Bay Area band Alma Desnuda. Bryden tells us about their song "Two Days Three Nights," which was written after the band members quit their day jobs and became full-time musicians.

The California Report | Friday, Dec 21, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: 'White Christmas'

The most popular and most-recorded Christmas song of all time is really about California -- but many people have never even heard the part of it that refers to the Golden State.

The California Report | Friday, Oct 26, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Chuck Prophet's 'Castro Halloween'

On this last weekend in October, San Francisco will be bathed in orange and black for two reasons. First, they're the colors of the city's beloved Giants who are in pursuit of their second World Series title in three years. And then of course it's the weekend before Halloween, a holiday celebrated in over-the-top fashion in San Francisco's gay Castro District. The annual event has been scaled back after a shooting in 2006, but it inspired songwriter Chuck Prophet, a long time neighborhood resident, to write a song about it.

The California Report | Friday, Jul 27, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: America's 'Ventura Highway'

Road trips have inspired books, poetry, films and, of course, music. In the early 70s the folk-rock band America burst onto the scene with hits like "Horse With No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair." As part of our series California Songs, we hear it was a childhood on the West Coast that inspired band member Dewey Bunnell to write the summer anthem, "Ventura Highway."

The California Report | Friday, Jun 15, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: 'The Golden Age and the Silver Girl'

Our series "California Songs" continues with singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle, who wrote his song "The Golden Age And The Silver Girl" two days before a life-altering move to California.

The California Report | Friday, Jun 01, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Raashan Ahmad's 'Oakland'

The city of Oakland rarely scores positive headlines. The media tend to focus more on problems like crime, police misconduct and political turmoil. But it did inspire East Bay rapper Raashan Ahmad to write a kind of love song to his city, titled simply "Oakland." He gives us the back story to his composition as part of our California Songs series.

The California Report | Friday, May 04, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Rogue Wave's 'California'

This week we continue our "California Songs" series with indie rockers Rogue Wave. Lead singer and Oakland native Zach Rogue talks about his song "California" and his views on the not-always-sunny side of the state.

The California Report | Friday, Apr 06, 2012, 4:30 PM

California Songs: Homer Joy's 'Streets of Bakersfield'

Bakersfield stars in a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, called the "The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country." Buck Owens helped put Bakersfield on the country music map. Later, a song about the city and its dusty streets helped Owens restart his career. But Buck Owens didn't write "Streets of Bakersfield." We hear from the original songwriter about how the song came about, and how he got it recorded back in 1972.

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