Twenty-five year old songwriter, Amanda Mora, was raised in the heart of Austin’s music culture by two professional musicians. By the time Amanda was born, her mother, Jill Jones, was forming a career in western swing music with a niche in yodeling that would lead her to the top of WMA music charts and earn her the title of National Yodeling Champion. Her father, a lifelong songsmith, passed down a musical heritage that goes back to one of Austin’s first orchestras, The Pharr Family Orchestra and Blondie Burnet Pharr, UT band leader and co-author of the UT fight song. During the years that Amanda’s father was not playing professionally, his music defined him as a man and a father and filled the house and mind of Amanda with music during her formative years. Yet, with all the music in the air, Amanda did not pick up an instrument until she was eighteen. As she describes it, “I was just so happy to listen to the music, it sounds strange, but it really never occurred to me to pick up an instrument. It happened over night, I went from being completely satisfied with listening, to urgently needing to find my own musical expression. Once I opened the door, a flood came out. With every new chord I learned (or made up), I would write a new song.” In the fall of 2007, Amanda moved into her father’s home studio and taught herself to edit and engineer in Pro Tools. The recording of The Ribbon was originally intended to be a brief interlude between college and career in order to unwind and archive a few of her favorite originals. Putting expectations aside, in January of 2008, she took her twelve favorite tracks (most of which had been written in 2007) into the studio where, as Amanda wrote, “my family’s deep love of music and malady of perfectionism overcame me within the first week in the studio, and I soon surrendered to a recording process that would take over nine months to complete.” She jokingly adds “I think my friends were all expecting to hear the singer-songwriter nightmare of a whinny voice reading straight from her diary to over-used melodies and three chord progressions. They had no idea what I was up to.” The Ribbon stands as a remarkably original work in a world of reproductions.
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