Inside The Collection: A Rocker Falls In Love With 70s Country Rock

Has an album ever changed your life? During my mid 20s, I was accidentally introduced to the music of Gram Parsons, the founder of what he called “cosmic American music,” or more broadly, Country Rock. I was deep in a rock-n-roll only phase when I discovered this music by way of Dinosaur Jr. covering “Hot Burrito #2.” This was a song by Parsons’ oddly named band The Flying Burrito Brothers. I bought the first two albums of that band and my curiosity about Parsons grew.

When I first heard this music I remember thinking many things. How had I not heard this before? Was there similar sounding stuff out there? I always assumed I’d hate the music my dad loved, but these songs made country music make sense.

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Curator Eric Shea at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville

Parsons’ career path catapulted him through some of the most popular bands of the late 60s. He helped The Byrds go country with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo before running off with Byrds’ bassist Chris Hillman. They bought some flashy, hippie, cowboy suits and formed The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons purportedly left the Burritos after just one year.

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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts

Anthony Skinner & The Immersion Family Band

A singer, songwriter, producer and author, Anthony Skinner has penned tracks for renowned praise and worship artists like Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Jesus Culture, Bethel Music and CeCe Winans on her GRAMMY Award winning project Thy Kingdom Come. Along with his group, The Immersion Family Band, they are currently topping the charts with their worship anthem “Your Love Never Fails” off the EP by the same name.

Molly Kate Kestner

The voice behind the YouTube hit “His Daughter,” 18-year-old singer-songwriter Molly Kestner wrote the tune with “…a cracked iPhone and out-of-tune piano.” The track has already reached over 1.5 million views and is receiving praise from CNN, The Huffington Post and Star Trek actor George Takei.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 4.37.23 PMFlorencio Coronado

Born in the Ayacucho (the heart of Peru), Florencio Coronado was considered one of the premier folk harpists in the late 1950s. Throughout his career leading to his death in 2009, he had toured through Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Read More →

Inside Song: Overcoming Writer’s Block

From around the middle of 2009 until late 2012, I didn’t write any songs. There were three days in the summer of 2010 where I banished myself to the basement and recorded the music for three songs, but was unable to generate any lyrics I could tolerate, so I don’t count those. In effect, I had a three-year “dry spell.” As someone who identifies as a songwriter, it was difficult to stave off an identity crisis.

IMG_7230The first six months or so were easy. I was busy, I’d gone through some life changes. I’d had little songless stretches before. No big deal. At the end of a year I looked back and thought, “That’s kind of strange.” By the end of year two I knew something was wrong, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I had no songs to write, and I was getting far enough away from the process that I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to find it again. Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Cava Menzies & Nick Phillips perform “You”

Bay area native Cava Menzies hails from a long line of musical talents; her father, an accomplished jazz trumpeter and early member of the Herbie Hancock sextet, while her mother is a classically trained flautist. Nick Phillips, another Bay area resident, is a trumpet player, composer, songwriter and highly coveted jazz producer. Cava and Nick came by the office with Paul Eastburn (bass) and Elizabeth Goodfellow (drums) to perform “You” from their self released album, Moment To Moment.

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Some of this week’s newest music and genre station highlights on Pandora, fresh from our curation team!

Artist Debuts

Mark Ballas

Singer-songwriter who is better known to most as a professional ballroom dancer on the ABC program Dancing With The Stars. As a youth, he was member of a pop trio called 2B1G (2 Boys 1 Girl) along with fellow dancers Julianne Hough and Derek Hough. He premiered his debut single “Get My Name” on a recent episode of DWTS and had the track trending worldwide on Twitter, moving the song to #24 on the iTunes Top Singles chart.

Light Fantastic

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.26.47 AMSan Francisco’s Light Fantastic plays their jangle-pop with one foot planted in the sand and the other in the paisley underground. With ample help from Rex John Shelverton (Vue, Tamaryn), Light Fantastic’s Byrdsian jangle gets the post-shoegaze treatment with tasteful washes of reverb and gauzy guitars that sound like the Rickenbackers from Beachwood Sparks and RIDE had a baby. Singer Terry Sowers sounds like he could be the missing link between The Beach Boys and Allah-Las. Read More →

Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

This is what our music curators are listening to this week on Pandora!

New Artist Additions

DJ Cassidy
A New York DJ who is known for his work at celebrity functions, including the 50th birthday party and 2009 inauguration of President Obama, and the 2008 wedding of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. He is gearing up for his debut album Paradise Royale, out in June, where he will bring together a 14-piece string section and musicians like Nile Rodgers (Chic), Ray Parker Jr., Mary J. Blige, Chromeo, Estelle, Cee Lo Green, Robin Thicke, Jessie J and more. His recently dropped single “Make The World Go Round” features a guest appearance by R. Kelly.

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Nightbringer
Nightbringer are one of those rare black metal bands that can swirl their cacaphony of guitar maelstroms to sound like a beautiful orchestra of evil. With equal parts restraint and tantrum, they’re absolute masters at reining in their chaos. Also, their singer sounds like he can gargle glass and barf blood into a Shure SM-58 microphone. Read More →

Android Users: Pandora is Now Available on Your Pebble Watch!

Last month, we announced that you could download Pandora in the Pebble app store for iOS.  We’ve already seen a great response to the first “wearable” technology device that Pandora is available on, so we’re thrilled to share that the Pebble app is now available for Android smartphone users as well.

pebble

Just like on iOS, Android users can now view and change stations, thumb songs up and down, skip, play and pause tracks using your Pebble.  If you already have a Pebble that is paired to your mobile device, you should get a notification that you can install the Pandora for Pebble app, or you can start the install process at any time from the Pebble Settings Page. Read More →