Musical Discoveries

Ever heard of Tift Merritt?  Me neither until I stumbled onto Pandora, a site created by the musical genome project which has classified the musical "genes" of songs from over 10,000 artists.

"Together our team of fifty musician-analysts have been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound – melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics … and more – close to 400 attributes!" ~ From ‘About Pandora’ at

Pandora told me that I would like Tift because I’m a fan of the Cowboy Junkies.  Apparently they have similar musical DNA and thus Merritt might appeal to me.  Another match for the Junkies was Rosanne Cash, a singer I’ve certainly heard of but never listened to before.  Yet after hearing her vocals next to Margo Timmon’s, lead singer of the Junkies, I must admit that they sound similar.  So yeah, I might just end up downloading some Roseanne Cash from ITunes later today.  And frankly, Tift Merritt sounds a little like Lucinda Williams, another artist I enjoy.  Coincidence? 

I also noticed that The Dave Mathews Band pops up a lot when I’m listening.  Although I’m not a huge fan my brother and his fiance are.  Huh?  We, as well as our musical tastes, are related?  Interesting. 

Another cool feature is that every time I click on a "station" that I created, new songs with similar genes are played.  So as I type this I’m listening to Never Saw It Coming by The Jesus and Mary Chain from their album, Stoned and Dethroned, a song that wasn’t playing yesterday.  In other words, log on and listen while you work or surf and you’ll be exposed to lots of great, new music each day. 

I’m glad this site is around because the older I get the less I listen to the radio.  I tend to  patronize artists I’m accustomed to and ignore the new sounds coming out.  I don’t watch MTV since they never play music videos anyway and their VP of programming obviously has his head up his own ass, so I don’t "discover" music like I used to.  I assumed that my kids as they age will expose me to new sounds, but Pandora gives me the opportunity to beat them to the punch.  Maybe even expose them to something cool and different as well.

If you want to expand your musical IQ check out their Pandora Podcasts.  Just today I learned the difference between tutti and unison harmony and now know that counterpoint harmonies occur in The Beach Boy’s song, Good Vibrations as opposed to Gladys Knight and the Pip’s call and response harmonies in Midnight Train To Georgia.   Music majors, amateur singers or plain old music lovers can learn a lot through this unique site.      

Warning:  If you’re a control freak this site will frustrate you.  Pandora’s music licenses permit them to stream entire songs, but only so many per hour and although you can forward through songs, you can’t go scroll backward.  Relax and trust that you’ll stumble on exactly what you need to hear. 


3 responses to “Musical Discoveries

  1. Thanks for turning me on to this site. Very cool.

    Once your girls are older, you will find that having teenagers is a great way to discover new music. There’s some great stuff out there these days.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Wow, I put in a couple artists that I liked and I rediscovered people I used to listen to and love. I think this site is great.

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