You know how music can bring back a flood of old memories, emotions and even certain smells or tastes? Building Pandora’s Progressive Bluegrass station totally did that to me. I was introduced to the genre by way of San Francisco’s beloved Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – an annual weekend-long concert in Golden Gate Park featuring traditional bluegrass bands, non-traditional bluegrass bands and everything in between. I’ve been attending almost every year since its 2001 inception. Because the event always happens the first weekend of October, just listening to David Grisman, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Carolina Chocolate Drops or Robert Plant & Alison Krauss brings back all kinds of autumnal vibes – the shedding trees, a crisper coastal air and darker beers.
The first time I’d ever heard there was a music genre called “progressive bluegrass,” I admittedly envisioned the guys in Rush playing banjos and fiddles. Up until then, the only time I’d ever heard the word “progressive” used in relation to music was when describing prog-rock. Bob Dylan went electric at Newport Folk Festival in 1965 – this was around the same time that The Byrds’ first album was released. So if adding amplifiers and drums to folk created the term “folk-rock,” why wasn’t progressive bluegrass simply named “bluegrass-rock?” While curating the songs on this genre station I learned why. Not all progressive bluegrass involves the simple addition of electric guitars and drum kits. In fact, most bands comprising the genre still adhere to playing classic acoustic instruments. But what’s progressive here is that these musicians have decidedly moved beyond the purists’ parameters of the traditional stringband blueprint to explore new and different possibilities. Read More →
Roméo Testa is a singer from Los Angeles whose style is influenced by R&B, rock, and pop. Other artists that can be heard on his Pandora station include Ne-Yo, Raheem DeVaughn and Andy Grammer. He and band members DJ Harper and Kendall Lewis came by the office and played “I’m So Down” off his debut EP The End.
Recently awarded Best Country Female Artist at the 2014 Nashville Independent Music Awards, Erica Nicole generated media buzz after revealing to Billboard her longtime struggle with hearing loss. Despite her struggle, she is making an impact on Country radio with the release of her new single “It’s Comin’ Down” which, at #73, was the highest charting radio single by an independent artist on its debut week.
Dubbed as “the lovechild of soul music” by Time Out magazine, British singer-songwriter Myles Sanko has received critical and fan acclaim. His original funk and soul music is inspired by James Brown, Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Al Green. In addition to the release of his album Forever Dreaming, he has worked with funk kings Speedometer and toured with former James Brown funk diva Martha
High. Read More →
The Wood Brothers are brothers Chris Wood (upright bass) and Oliver Wood (guitar), and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. A blend of folk, rock, and country sweetened with vocal harmonies comprise their Americana sound. Other artists that can be heard on their Pandora station include The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys and Old Crow Medicine Show. The trio came by the office and played “Sing About It” of their latest album The Muse. Read More →
I LOVE MAKONNEN
I LOVE MAKONNEN is the stage name of Atlanta-based R&B and hip-hop artist Makonnen Sheran. His rise to prominence began after Drake remixed his song “Tuesday.” Another one of his tracks reached Miley Cyrus, who shared it on her Instagram. He has recently signed to Drake’s label, OVO Sound, and has begun work on a collaboration project with Mike Will.
You+Me (pronounced “you plus me”) are a country-folk duo formed by singer-songwriter Alecia Moore (aka Pink) and Canadian musician Dallas Green (aka City And Colour). They recently unveiled their debut single, an acoustic love song “You And Me” and will release their debut studio album, Rose Ave., on 10/12.
Recently named “Best Of What’s Next” by Paste Magazine, Saint Pepsi began experimenting with remixing, genre shuffling and mashing up tracks by Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen – receiving recognition by multiple music blogs. He recently released his first non-remix track on the Carpark record label, “Fiona Coyne,” a summery synth-pop love letter to a fictional character on the TV show Degrassi.
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Imagine thumbing up a song from your favorite artist and moments later finding yourself face to face with them for a private concert. Sounds impossible, right? Well this is exactly what just happened for some Pandora listeners.
At Pandora, we constantly strive to create magic moments for our listeners by connecting them to the right music at the right time. Today, we want to share a new Pandora program that takes this connection to the next level. Within moments of thumbing up a song, we are surprising a few listeners by literally connecting them to the artist for a totally live, one-on-one concert via video chat. Read More →
The Autumn Defense is a band formed by Wilco members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone. The multi-instrumentalists have a mellow rock and folk influenced sound. Other artists that can be heard on their Pandora station include Elliott Smith, The Decemberists and The Jayhawks.
The duo stopped by the office and played “Every Day” off their album Once Around. Audio from the full session can be found here.
SPZRKT (pronounced Spazzy Rocket) is Xavier Adams, a 24 year-old R&B singer who three years ago, auditioned for The Voice, America’s Got Talent and American Idol but never made it past the first round. Now under his moniker, his eclectic debut album Bonfire is drawing comparisons to artists like John Legend, Gnarls Barkley and MGMT.
The Artwoods were an English rock, R&B and freakbeat band that were active between 1964-1967 and was fronted by Arthur Wood, the brother of Ronnie Wood (of the band Faces and later The Rolling Stones). The band released seven singles and one studio album on the Decca and Parlophone labels, including “What Shall I Do” and “In The Deep End.” They also put out a handful of R&B/blues covers like Leadbelly’s “Sweet Mary” and Sam & Dave’s “I Take What I Want.” But they never landed a hit despite having a formidable reputation as a live attraction. Read More →
Run River North is an indie pop group with strong folk influences. Guitar-driven at heart, their sound is fleshed out by soft vocal harmonies and a variety of instruments, including violin, melodica, tambo. Other artists that can be heard on their Pandora station include Of Monsters & Men, Lord Huron, and The Head & the Heart. The six-piece came by the office and played “Growing Up” off their self-titled debut album. Audio from the full session can be found here.
Recently called “Your Next YouTube Crush” by BuzzFeed, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Niykee Heaton’s claim to fame came in her early teens when she began posting pop covers on YouTube. This was followed by acoustic versions of popular hip-hop tracks from artists like Chief Keef, ASAP Rocky, Lil Wayne and Pusha T. She was later handpicked by Snoop Dogg to accompany him onstage at the YouTube Brandcast in 2013. Heaton is set to release her debut album from Russell Simmons’ All Def Music / Capitol Records. This will include the buzz-worthy R&B ballad “Bad Intentions,” which has already had over a million views since its January release.
Marc E. Bassy
Fans of 2AM Club will be happy to hear Bay Area MC Marc E. Bassy has launched a solo career with his Only the Poets Mixtape (Vol. 1). Featuring guest appearances from artists like IamSu and Skizzy Mars, this vibed-out mix provides a fresh new take on the West Coast sound. Mixing spacey R&B with animated lyrics, Marc E. Bassy spins tales of barbecues, cigarettes, dreams and relapsing.
The frontman of the motivational metalcore band Memphis May Fire, whose latest album Between The Lines debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart, Matty Mullins is set to release his self-titled debut album this fall. He branches off into a more melodic and pop sound, as heard on the lead single “My Dear,” taking cues from some of his influences like popular CCM bands the Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe and Petra.
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