The Musicology Show: Country Songwriting

JJ Schultz
podcast_mic.jpgWhen he’s not here working at Pandora’s headquarters, you might find JJ Schultz hosting a great weekly open mic night at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. You might also find him with pen in hand working on new songs. His three albums of original songs range from folk to country to other strains of Wisconsin-bred Americana. Today, however, we focus on that country music. We get into classic country songwriting, looking at how major-key melodies mix with sad lyrics to establish a setting for those vivid, very specific images.
Thanks for listening,


The Pandora Team

17 thoughts on “The Musicology Show: Country Songwriting

  1. Idea separate from this post: You have genres worked into your music selection now, which is great, but I’m trying to create a station composed of purely video game music. The band “The Advantage” does a lot of covers, for example. I would also like to be able to add bands like Minibosses, and composers like Nobuo Uematsue. Would it be possible for you guys to tag such video-game tunes and create a genre based off that? I would absolutely love it. Thanks for all the hard work, Pandora. This site is awesome.

  2. Something that has nothing to do with this, just a suggestion, you guys should work on making it possible to just type in a genre and then stuff classified under that would play. That way if I can’t think of an artist I can still find what I am looking for.

  3. Hi,
    With all respect for all country music fans, I dont like it. I know there are way more people who dislikes the music I like, than people who dislikes country music. Any of this really matters, no ofenses.
    Just wanted to ask 2 things to somebody who works in Pandora,
    1. Is there are way to tell/recommend Pandora to add another song to an existing station? Or enter more than one entry to create a new station?.
    To enable people to give music recommendations, will allow Pandora to discover new bands all around the world (in the future :)).
    2. I have more than 10 stations and it’s kind of hard to move from one to the other, the space is to narrow. Is there a way to make it wider or is there a reason for the size of the player?
    Its ok to write this here or can you make a link for feedback?…all this is not for criticize just for feeding back, cause I love Pandora, keep it up, thank you and blessss !!!!

  4. Hi, Isaac,
    Have you seen our genre-based stations? You might enjoy those. If you go to the main page, the tuner, and check out the field below the tuner, one of the options is for “Genre Stations.”
    Hi, Morphita,
    You can always email us directly at with such questions, but it’s fine to ask them here too.
    The tuner is that size partly so that it doesn’t take up too much real estate on your screen. An expandable player is definitely something we can consider, though.
    As for adding another song to an existing station, yes, absolutely, you can do that. This link here explains how:
    But I’ll quote from what is listed there:

    Click the little triangle next to the station’s name, then click “Add more music to this station,” then type the name of the song or artist you would like to add. You can repeat this process as many times as you like.
    To add several elements quickly to your station, use the “Station Page” for that station. To do this, click the little triangle to the right of the station’s name, then select “Edit This Station.” When the “Station Page” pops up, in the upper right of either the “Artist Seeds” and the “Song Seeds” sections, click the “Add” button. You will be prompted to enter an artist name or song title. Click “Quick Add” or just hit the “Enter” key. You can then continue to enter multiple artists or songs.
    [Note: You do not have to be listening to a station in order to add more artists or songs to its definition.]

  5. Thanks, Su! Very kind of you.
    Dave — I’m going to send you a direct email, as it sounds like you’re having a technical issue. It definitely shouldn’t be cutting out like that. For future reference, is the fastest way to seek help for problems of that sort. Thanks!

  6. I love what you have accomplished here, it is a great tribute to artist as well as the listerners who made the 70’s one of the most inspirational eras period. There will never be another generation that put so much soul into it’s being. The sense of soul was what was felt in music, whether it was soft and flowing, or angry and rebellius, it was just great. I can never get over, at how music just was absorbed over and over, no matter what the messages were. When Disco came out, most of it was great, from the moment The Hustle came out, I knew it could only get better.

  7. Hi, James,
    Nothing is out of the question, but it’s much more likely that we will be available on more and more existing devices, rather than jumping into hardware development ourselves. Here are several that we are on right now:
    Hi, Munchen,
    I sent a request to pandora-support@pandora, and they will be getting back to you to see why your configuration might be making songs cut out. Thanks for your patience.
    Hi, Bunster B,
    Welcome to it! Glad you’re here. What kind of songwriting topics might you want to talk about on here?

  8. Just wanted to let Pandora know that I enjoy and will continue to enjoy their music until January 5, 2009. Unfortunately, that will be my last day of employment due to no fault of mine. Your music has uplifted me when I was up and also when I have been down. I cannot express enough on how your radio station has helped me get my life back on track. I listen to nothing but the Gospel stations because Jesus is Awesome and without Him, I don’t know what I have done. Pandora has made it possible for me to do this and for that I am truly grateful.

  9. Wow, thanks so much, Denise!
    That’s wonderful to hear, indeed. I’m glad you’ve found some great Gospel music on Pandora.
    Best of luck,
    Lucia, from Pandora

  10. If you are a fan of Americana, I listen to a station from my home town in Knoxville TN called WDVX. They started out in a camper, then got invited by the city to put a studio in the city visitor center. They have a live, free show everday. They play Americana, Alt country, bluegrass, blues, and some Cajun. I listen to them all day here at work out here in Palo Alto.
    Check em’ out:

  11. “Love is not a thing to understand.
    Love is not a thing to feel.
    Love is not a thing to give and receive.
    Love is a thing only to become
    And eternally be. .”