Honky Tonks, Blazing Heat, Twang & Swagger: CMA Festival Day 1

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Three members of the Pandora crew and I had just missed Kenny Chesney. He played outside on Broadway in downtown Nashville and after stepping out onto the balmy Southern night following a hearty soul-food dinner; we heard the explosion of applause to what was his last song. So the four of us decided to go honky-tonkin’ at Robert’s Western World across the street. Don Kelly Band was blazing through some old hillbilly standards with help from a 20-year-old guitar prodigy named Daniel Donato. This amazing six-string jedi looked like a young Rory Gallagher and picked a Telecaster like Don Rich on steroids.

IMG_7712But it was A Thousand Horses who really set the tone for this year’s CMA Music Festival. The band sauntered on stage over a droning organ before launching into “Landslide.” Armed with three, soulful, female, backing singers, they rocked with the timeless soul of Delaney & Bonnie through a nitty, gritty, Lynyrd Skynrd swagger. Lead guitarist Bill Satcher was kicking out the jams with a punchy tone that recalled The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion era Black Crowes. There was a palpable excitement in the crowd when Michael Hobby strapped on a Gibson acoustic guitar. After he strummed the first few chords to “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” the audience ignited in applause. But their fans really went wild when Hobby announced that they were now going to play their number one single, “Smoke.” For a few seconds, the roar of the crowd even eclipsed the band’s audibility. After walking away from their set with “Trailer Trash” stuck in my head, I realized that A Thousand Horses is everything that I’ve ever wanted from Kid Rock and Shooter Jennings. Southern Rock is alive and well at CMA Music Festival. Read More →

Country Built

Today we add another great guest blogger to the list of venerable scribes who have written for us.  First Anthony DeCurtis wrote about the legendary Rolling Stones, recently Alan Light gave us his take on Josh Groban, and now James Sullivan is talking COUNTRY BUILT. James is the author of four books, including biographies of James Brown and George Carlin, and a frequent contributor to the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone and more. He’s at www.jamessullivanauthor.com and on Twitter @sullivanjames.  

country builtCountry music is often called a storytelling music. As the great songwriter Harlan Howard once said, it’s “three chords and the truth.”  On Pandora’s new specialty station, Country Built, we’re recalling some of the best stories about American music.

Your host, Otis Gibbs – himself a mighty fine songwriter in the traditional American mode – is your tour guide through more than half a century of landmark recordings by timeless artists. Each episode of Country Built will also feature a special appearance from a “future” representative of the style. Read More →

Artists to Watch at CMA Fest

cmaWho’s headed to Nashville for CMA Music Festival?  This year’s line-up is filled with some of the biggest names in country – Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts (to name of few) – but we’re also really excited for a lot of the performers who aren’t already household names.  We used your listening feedback (coupled with the buzz each of these acts has been receiving) and think the following artists might just be some of your new country favorites come CMA Fest and its surrounding events (if they aren’t already). Read More →

“Pedestrian at best” Local Pandas see Courtney Barnett Live

Tucking into a pre-gig feast of Ramen and beers we sat around the slightly sticky table talking about previous loves and the last time we ‘rocked out’ at the Metro. For ‘Lightning Jax’ it was her first time, for ‘Cherie Baby’ it’d been 3 years and for me, about 18 months. But we soon moved on from the days of old because tonight was all about the singer, song-writer, 26 year old product of Melbourne and raven haired maven – Courtney Barnett.

After a quick flash of the I.D. we climb the dimly let stairs and eagerly await her set.  But looking around under the light of the large chandelier it was hard to know what kind of crowd she would pull, yet with those honest and to the point, guitar accompanied melodies there was no denying she has pulled a cult-like following of toe-tapping and head-bopping ‘Dudes’ (4 to 1).

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As ‘Teeth & Tongue’ wrapped her delicious supporting act we nestled in amongst the standing crowd and right on cue, with her trade-mark thick bangs and rockstar gait (head to toe black), Courtney casually walked on stage; eyes cast downwards and almost instantly started strumming against a backdrop of liquid, hallucinogenic swirls and curls that would take on a life of it’s own over the next hour and a half.

Courtney

It’s her sharp, witty lyrics and deadpan delivery that make Courtney’s songs that much more unique and relatable. With titles like ‘Depreston’ about house-hunting in a newly gentrified neighbourhood in outer Melbourne to “I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling, It’s a kind of off-white, Maybe it’s a cream” forms the classic opener to ‘An Illustration of Loneliness’ written about insomnia and missing the one you love. It feels as though the ordinariness of life she so flatly creates melodies for can be just as interesting and ‘song worthy’ as all the dramatic highs and lows. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what Courtney Barnett has captured in her audience, we’re all enduring the mundane, just like her. Househunting, buying organic vegetables, being lonely, and Not going to parties – because at the end of the day we’re all just ‘Pedestrian at Best’! And I thank you, Courtney, for that reminder and continuing to create the accompanying reverent soundtrack for us while your humble star continues to rise.

To experience Courtney on Pandora, click here

Isa, Director – HR, Pandora ANZ

 

“Mashups” on Pandora and other cool features

Hopefully you have been enjoying all the new features Pandora rolled out earlier this year. The principles of simplicity and clarity are at the heart of this evolution, as well as making it easier to personalise, discover, and explore your favourite music on Pandora.

One longed for feature is how to listen to two genres, artists or songs within one station. Our “add variety” feature means you can now do this, creating whatever mashup of styles you like, without having to switch stations.

An overview of all the features of Pandora are below:

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  • Tap the new Personalisation Icon to easily access your Thumb History or Add Variety.
  • Accidentally thumbed a song?
    Now you can Un-Thumb by simply tapping the thumb again.

 

 

Read More →

JOSH GROBAN STAGES

“This was such a passion project that I thought maybe it was a little self-indulgent,” says Josh Groban. “But show after show, I would meet fans and they would say ‘When are you going to do a Broadway album?’ And any time I would dip my toes into that world, they went nuts. So I thought, maybe this is actually a win-win—maybe not only is this something I really wanted to make for a long time, but the fans really frickin’ want to hear this album.”

Josh GrobranGroban, who has sold over 25 million records worldwide, sat down at Pandora’s New York City offices for an exclusive conversation about his new album, Stages. The record marks the first time that the singer has dedicated an entire project to songs that originated in musical theater. (In addition to the interview, Groban worked with Pandora worked to curate a custom mixtape, launching today, featuring his favorite songs from a wider range of Broadway
musicals.) Read More →

Sam Smith – Will You Go to Prom With Us?

The preparation, the stress, the perfect outfit, the photo documentation…ah, the promposal. For those of you looking to seal the deal, we think setting the promposal to music is a surefire way to ensure a “Yes!” So, without further adieu:

How to create your own custom promprosal station, in six simple steps:

  1. Let’s get started – type in your date’s favorite artist or song.
  2. Mix it up! Click the “Add Variety” option underneath the station name. Add as many artists or songs to make a station worthy of your perfect prom.
  3. Now that you made it, give it a name. Click the arrow to the right of the station and select “Rename This Station”.  Make it good – you need them to say yes.
  4. Put on your game face, you got this.
  5. Unleash your station on your lucky promposal recipient – go back to your friendly arrow, but this time select the “Share” button.
  6. Enjoy prom – you’re welcome.

Read More →

Enrique Iglesias and Romeo Santos – Tops for Latin Music Listening

As Pandora listeners, you are quite a discerning group – and that’s what makes the Pandora listening experience so unique. Through the power of thumbs, stations become personalized and attuned to your individual tastes. And believe us, we pay very close attention to the feedback that we receive from each of you. It’s this very feedback that can be infinitely revealing when trying to anticipate trends in music and popular culture.

Latin Visual FINALSo with that in mind, we decided to consult the predictive powers of your thumb data to try and intuit who will take home the top prizes in the year’s Billboard Latin Music awards, airing this Thursday, April 30. More specifically, we asked our crystal ball of listener data who would walk away with awards for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.

If you’ve paid attention to Latin music at all this year, the results should come as no surprise. You basically had to be living under a rock to not take note of the monumentally successful year enjoyed by Latin music royalty, Enrique Iglesias and Romeo Santos. So put your money on these two to be showered with trophies (ouch!) in a Billboard Latin music love-fest. You heard it here!