“My dad gave me this album when I first started playing guitar, and it instantly resonated with me.”
Ross Flora is a seasoned, multifaceted singer and musician out of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Growing up just south of Roanoke, he was surrounded by strong influences in both R&B and Bluegrass. By his teenage years, he began performing at various venues and festivals throughout the South Atlantic, and later joined The Kings in Roanoke, Virginia.
In 2012, Ross moved from the family farm to pursue a career in Nashville, Tennessee. Once in Nashville, he was able to build a strong audience base as a solo artist and began touring full-time as a lead guitarist and vocalist, performing with acts such as Johnny T Band and Smoke n’ Guns.
Ross’ songs emulate the tasteful guitar parts and bold emotional lyrics of the southern rock genre. His sound reflects his lifelong influences, including Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Chris Cornell, and Ian Thornley. As an English major, he utilises the themes of all his favourite authors, including Dickinson, Thoreau, and Whitman, in his musical writing. Ross’ music shares stories from his rural roots to life on the road.
Earlier this year, he released his collaboration project, Part of Me. Recorded in Nashville at John and Martina McBride’s Blackbird Studio, the two-song release Last Part of Me and Get It Right explore the various American music styles, including country, roots-rock, and folk, resulting in distinctive rural sounds.
To learn more about Ross Flora, we asked him about an album that changed his life.
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“My dad gave me this album when I first started playing guitar at 10–11 years old, and it instantly resonated with me. The Allman Brothers Band are his favourite band as well, so I had heard the songs in passing throughout my childhood, but understanding guitar made the songs take on a whole new life for me.
Jessica is and has been my favourite song since I can remember; somehow, even without lyrics, it clearly tells a story and is one of the best examples of songwriting I can think of. I’m still infatuated with the album today for those musical reasons, but growing as a person, player, and songwriter and working with bands made me realise how incredibly special this album was.
The band was still intensely grieving the loss of Duane Allman and was in some, if not many, ways lost. The band’s other original guitarist and singer, Dickey Betts, as a way of dealing with Duane’s loss, took his commitment to songwriting to a different level and stepped up with most of the album’s songs, basically becoming the band’s leader through that period.
I find it really meaningful that Dickey’s playing naturally stemmed from major scales, whereas Duane’s was usually rooted more in minor. To me, that uplifting major sound, the album art featuring Butch Trucks’ and Berry Oakley’s children, along with Chuck Leavell’s piano playing, helped carry them and their fans out of that dark phase and through the passing of their bass player Berry Oakley shortly thereafter.
Ultimately, I feel like recording the Brothers and Sisters album was the band’s sink-or-swim moment. No one would have blamed them for dismantling the band after losing half of their namesake and fading away, but their commitment to one another, their fans, and the legacy of Duane held them together.”
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