October 10 2020

Like Nothing I’d Ever Heard

I’d heard the Burritos out in California

Could fly higher than the Byrds

Roger McGuinn had a 12 string guitar

It was like nothing I’d ever heard.

This line from David Alan Coe’s “Willie Waylon and Me” a song that I’ve had stuck in my head for most of my life.

This verse references the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds, two influential groups in the folk rock genre I still listen to today.

Chris Hillman was an original member in both of these groups.

Hillman was the original Bassist of the Byrds which included, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby and Michael Clarke in 1965.

Late into the 1960’s and early 1970’s a group was formed and became one of the chief influences on the country rock genre. The Flying Burrito Brothers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers included Hillman and Clarke of the Byrds as well as Pete Kleinow, Gram Parsons, Rick Roberts and Bernie Leadon.

The next chorus of the David Alan Coe song “Willie, Waylon, and Me” makes reference to the Eagles as well as the Byrds.

And the Eagles flew in from the west coast

Like the Byrds they were trying to be free

Bernie Leadon would move on to becoming a founding member of the Eagles in 1971 after the Flying Burrito Brothers decline. Bernie would later be replaced by Joe Walsh.

“Stephen had a vision”

Graham Nash

After the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers,  Chris Hillman, a key figure in the development of country rock,  joined Stephen Stills newly formed band Manassas.

Paul Harris, Al Perkins, Joe Lala, and Dallas Taylor were also members of Stephen Stills ‘super group’.

Stephen Stills had once been the opening act for the Byrds in a band called Buffalo Springfield.

Buffalo Springfield Included Neil Young, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, and Bruce Palmer.

Stephen stills is listed in the Rolling Stones top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time as #28.

“Stephen Stills is a genius”

Neil Yong

David Crosby of the Byrds origin would later join Stephen Stills, Gram Nash, and Neil Young in Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

Neil Young would eventually leave to begin a solo career causing the band a member short , and changing the name to Crosby, Stills and Nash.

These humble beginnings of folk rock and country were founded in the late 60’s and early 70’s mainly in Southern California. Many of these members lived just outside of Las Angeles in an area known as Laurel Canyon.

Many of the greatest folk songs to date were written within this Canyon.  In this atmosphere the greatest of all time wrote songs together, and played their songs to each other. They started bands and they broke up the bands. The chemistry that transpired in this canyon still amazes me today.

Modern artists are still playing their original music and trying to write new songs to sound like these original works of genius.

Besides the Byrds following, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa and many more of the greats spent time in this Canyon outside of L.A.

This was the music that I grew up listening to, and what I compare everything else to today.

It was like nothing, I’d ever heard.


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September 19 2020

In My Hour of Darkness – In Memory of Gram Parsons

On September 19, 1973, the World lost Gram Parsons, yet his music still echoes today across the Cap Rock Parking lot at Joshua Tree National Park, California and beyond. Gram was only 26 years old at the time of his death, but he had already touched the world through music and song.

 In GP’s relatively short career he was influential at blending the country and rock genres to a point that they could not be distinguished from one another.

This former member of the International Submarine Band, The Byrd’s, a cofounder of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and solo recording artist posthumous awards include the Americana Music Association “President’s Award”.  He still ranks 87th on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest artists of all time.

~ Pancho