I love Pandora! For those who don’t know (you’ll be surprised how many there are), Pandora (http://www.pandora.com) is basically Internet-based radio, playing only the music you like by allowing you to create your own program.
Here is not only the music I like; I also discover “new” artists that I’ve never heard of and I LOVE them. When I list “new” names like Evanescence, Missy Higgins, Plumb, Regina Spektor (I’m currently listening to “Soviet Kitsch”), and many more great artists, I can imagine people rolling their eyes.
“What rock are you living under?” they might ask. Well, my excuse is valid: Our local radio station plays only standard music they can actually afford, and that includes “Say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say…” Yes, it’s the extraordinary prose of John Mayer, and that’s the maximum level of sophisticated music you get from our local radio station. See also my post Pandora Kills The Radio Star… And I Like It!
Well, talking about Missy Higgins, one of my favorite artists I discovered through Pandora (and never heard on our local radio station):
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Melissa “Missy” Morrison Higgins (born 19 August 1983) is an Australian pop singer-songwriter, musician and actor. Her No. 1 albums in Australia are The Sound of White (2004) and On a Clear Night (2007), and her Top Ten singles are “Scar”, “The Special Two”, “Steer” and “Where I Stood”. From a musical family in Melbourne, she played piano by age six and sang at twelve. While boarding at Geelong Grammar School, she wrote a song for an assignment which was then entered into the national Unearthed radio competition for unsigned artists. Higgins won and signed recording contracts with Eleven and Warner Bros. After taking time off, backpacking in Europe, she recorded her first album The Sound of White, which was released in 2004. The album, and its first single, “Scar” both went to No. 1 on the relevant Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Charts. Its second single, “The Special Two”, went to No. 2. Higgins was nominated for fiveARIA Music Awards that year and won ‘Best Pop Release’ for “Scar”. In 2005 she was nominated for seven more awards and won five. She won her seventh ARIA in 2007.
In 2006, Higgins wrote new material for her second album, and following a US tour she recorded On a Clear Night, which gave her another No. 1 single with “Steer”. Higgins has conducted several well received Australian tours and performed at high-profile charity events WaveAid (2005) and Live Earth (2007). She has toured internationally and lived and worked in the United States for ten months in 2008. Her song “Where I Stood” has been used in television shows including Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill and So You Think You Can Dance. Her third album is due to be released in 2012.
Alongside her music career, Higgins pursues interests in animal rights and the environment, endeavouring to make her tours carbon neutral. She is also the patron of One in Five, an Australian mental health charity. In 2007, following years of press speculation about her sexual orientation, she came out as bisexual, saying that she prefers interviewers to focus on her music. In 2010 she made her acting debut in feature Bran Nue Dae, and performed on the related soundtrack.
Higgins grew up in the 1980s and 1990s listening to artists that her older siblings liked—Nicola played Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, while David favoured Queen and Kiss. Departing for boarding school at age 13, she was exposed to alternative artists like Nirvana and Courtney Love and started teaching herself guitar and writing her own music. She also began singing with David’s jazz group on weekends. As an adult she prefers Nina Simone and Ray Charles to “poppy dance music”. She has cited Patty Griffin, Ron Sexsmith, Rufus Wainwright, Paul Kelly and Sarah McLachlan as influences. Material from her yet-to-be-released third album is influenced by ambient music fromLow, Jon Hopkins, Icelandic band Sigur Rós and Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt.
Higgins’ song writing grew out of a desire to express her emotions when she was at school and her lyrics describe her feelings about her own life and relationships. The piano was the first instrument she learned to play, and she continues to use it as well as digital pianos including a Roland RD-300SX, RD-700 and KR-15. She also uses guitars extensively in her music particularly when touring, due to their portable nature and favours the Australian brand, Maton. On occasion she plays xylophone and melodica during performances. - Source: Wikipedia.org
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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