Producer, songwriter, and performer Ross Flora, known for the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll featuring a southern Americana flare, debuts his first collaboration project, “Part of Me,” with world-renowned Blackbird Studio. 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.
With the help of the students at The Blackbird Academy, Ross’ new project features unique and bold soundscapes, each catering to a different style and tempo. “‘Last Part of Me” is a song I wrote around the time I moved to Nashville. To me, it’s about the point after a breakup where the heartache starts to fade, but that pain is your only interaction with that person anymore, so you hold on to it as best you can.”
Ross says, “These two songs, “Last Part of Me” and “Get It Right,” are some that I wrote earlier in my career. Originally, I was working to get these on my 2022 summer EP release of Shoulders of Giants, but the timing of the opportunity to record them in Blackbird Studio meant they would have to be released later on. Ultimately, I couldn’t be happier that the decision was made to put them out as their own project.”
Ross’ catalog expands to include styles that have influenced him throughout his career. Particularly, Ross’ father, Millard Flora, who is also a musician, got to be in the studio as he continues to influence Ross’ musical performance and songwriting. Millard says, “As Ross has gained life experiences, this project shows that he is more aware of the forces that got him here — spiritual, cognitive, and social interactions that make him the man that he is today. On this project, all of those influences are reflected in his songwriting.”
Inside the prestigious recording studio, Ross and the students of the academy were able to record and bring these songs to life. The mentor-driven and hands-on education at The Blackbird Academy for Angela Gonzales was one she won’t take for granted. Angela says, “Working with Ross Flora at Blackbird Studio was a dream. An artist I love, in an amazing studio, capturing songs I believe in. I felt fortunate to just be behind that console and witness the moments. The electricity between Ross, the band, and even having his father, Millard Flora, on the B3, was just so special. Ross gives his heart to every show he plays, to every song he writes, and to every person he interacts with.”
The sparks of musical inspiration that exist within The Blackbird Academy coexist with the passion for music education that lives inside the studio. Many greats of country music have walked the halls and cut hit records at the academy, with Ross being among them to get the opportunity to record his project there. “The time spent recording these songs at Blackbird Studio with my dad and closest friends will easily go down as one of the best moments and milestones of my life. And finally hearing them on tape, mixing them, and sending them off to be released was such a weight lifted from me,” adds Ross.
In these two new singles, you are able to hear Ross take on new sounds and even include some R&B. “‘Get it Right” is a saying I remind myself of all the time — If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. In this case, it’s focused on a relationship that has had its issues, but the character has finally made a commitment to change, stop making cliche and selfish mistakes that lead to more and more bad decisions,” says Ross.
Throughout Flora’s career, he has performed as a lead guitarist and vocalist with the Johnny T band, opening for Love and Theft, and was also the lead guitarist and vocalist with Smoke n’ Guns, opening for Blackberry Smoke and Dustin Lynch. Ross continues to play weekly gigs in Nashville as a solo artist, having performed over 4,000 shows while also writing and producing his own music. Most recently he released his debut EP, Shoulders of Giants, which made headlines alongside Morgan Wade in the Roanoke Times as two Virginia natives making waves in Nashville.
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About Ross Flora
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. When asked what his first musical memories were, he said, “My dad would stand me up on the back of a church pew and teach me harmony parts with the congregation.” When Ross was 12, his dad came home to find him playing along to a Van Halen CD and went to sign him up for guitar lessons that day. By his teenage years, Ross began performing at various venues and festivals throughout the South Atlantic. At the age of 19, he started playing guitar and singing with “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” around the nation. Ross has performed over 3,500 shows since moving to Nashville, all while writing and producing his own music.
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 utilizes the themes of all his favorite authors, including Dickinson, Thoreau, and Whitman, in his musical writing. Ross’ music shares stories from his rural roots to life on the road.
About The Blackbird Academy — Professional School of Audio
The Blackbird Academy was started in 2013 by recording and live sound engineer John McBride and his wife, country artist Martina McBride. They created Blackbird Studio in 2002, which has grown to be a top production stop for recording artists like Taylor Swift, Jack White, The Black Keys, Rush, Keith Urban, Queen, and many more.
When interviewing Blackbird Studio interns and employees, John would ask various questions about audio production, like “What is your favorite kick drum mic?” The answers revealed that many graduates of audio programs had little hands-on time in a recording studio.
Another question whose answer shocked him was, “How much did your education cost?” John quickly realized that not only did grads still have a lot to learn, but they often had tons of loans and student debt.
After talking about the ideas they had regarding audio education, John and Martina founded The Blackbird Academy. John hired Mark Rubel, Carma DiCianni, and Kevin Becka – longtime engineers, musicians, and educators, and the four of them went to work creating the program. The curriculum features Blackbird Studio’s gear and facilities for the Studio Program, and access to Clair Global massive warehouses of equipment and professional staff for the Live Sound Program.
A unique feature of The Blackbird Academy is the mentor-driven, experience-based education. Professional engineers and award-winning guest mentors teach The Blackbird Academy programs.
There is no substitute for learning hands-on, from the best professional instructors, in rooms and on gear used to make top quality music every day. The lessons learned at The Blackbird Academy will help you find work in an industry that is competitive, challenging, and rewarding.
About Dead Horse Branding
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Branding is an identity developed through our DH7 branding formula, which includes: strategic planning, logo and image design, photography and visual assets, website design, marketing and social media, publicity, licensing, and distribution. Dead Horse Branding’s brand-building technique has been implemented into the education system in the USA and Australia. Rick Caballo and Melissa Core-Caballo were instrumental in helping to lead Kennesaw State University’s Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program (MEBUS) as one of top curriculums ranked by Billboard Magazine 2022.
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“Ross’ EP Shoulders of Giants was one that moved me personally as it just lifts the spirit. I felt honored he allowed me to be a part of the art and songs he has coming to the world next.” — Angela Gonzales
“Students are going to walk in here, be excited about learning, and really learn what it takes to make a record… if I had six months to dedicate to coming to The Blackbird Academy, I would be here.” — Sheryl Crow, The Recording Artist, Songwriter, Musician