The Best of Twangy 70’s Psychedelic Country Rock

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Best of Twangy 70’s Psychedelic Country Rock is a collection of the best country rock songs from the 1970s. This genre of music is characterized by its twangy guitars, its psychedelic influences, and its often country-inspired lyrics.

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons was a country music singer and songwriter who was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He is best known for his work with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and is credited with helping to create the genre of country rock. He died at the age of 26, but his music has lived on and inspired many other artists.

His life

Gram Parsons was born in Winter Haven, Florida, on November 5, 1946. His father, a Florida state senator, died when Parsons was 12 years old, an event that had a profound effect on the young man. Parsons began playing the guitar at an early age and developed a keen interest in country music. He enrolled at Harvard University in 1964 but dropped out after one year to pursue a musical career.

Parsons moved to New York City in 1966 and became a member of the country-rock band the Byrds. He recorded two albums with the group—Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968) and The Ballad of Easy Rider (1969)—before leaving to form his own group, the Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons’s work with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers helped pave the way for the popularity of country-rock in the 1970s.

Parsons released two solo albums—GP (1973) and Grievous Angel (1974)—before his untimely death from drug-related causes at age 26. Despite his short career, Parsons exerted a significant influence on country music and popular culture. His innovative blend of country, rock, and other genres inspired such later musicians as Emmylou Harris and Dwight Yoakam.

His music

Parsons’ musical taste was strongly shaped by two great interests. The first was country music, particularly the music of Hank Williams and other honky tonk singers of the 1940s and 1950s. The second, which he discovered while a student at Harvard, was rock and roll, particularly the work of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Parsons found common ground between the two genres, and his work helped create a uniquely American form of country-rock.

The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers redefined country rock in the late 60s and early 70s with their pioneering fusion of country, rock, and R&B. The group’s classic lineup featured Gram Parsons on vocals and guitar, Chris Hillman on bass and vocals, Michael Clarke on drums, and Bernie Leadon on guitar and vocals.

Their music

The Flying Burrito Brothers were a country rock band, best known for their influential 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin. The group was founded in 1968 in Los Angeles, California by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, both of whom had previously played in the folk rock band The Byrds.

The Flying Burrito Brothers’s music blended country, rock, soul and R&B into a hybrid that later came to be known as country rock. Although the group was only active for a few years and released just three studio albums, their music had a significant impact on the development of country rock and subsequent genres such as alt-country and Americana.

The members

The Flying Burrito Brothers was an American country rock band, formed in 1968 in Los Angeles, California. The original members were Gram Parsons (vocals, guitar), Chris Hillman (vocals, guitar), Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar, mandolin), and Michael Clarke (drums). The band was named after Parsons’ love of Mexican food.

Parsons and Hillman were also members of the Byrds, who had released the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo in 1968, considered a landmark achievement in country rock. Through his association with the Byrds, Parsons had been introduced to Hank Williams’ music and became a fan. In early 1968, while the Byrds were on hiatus from recording and touring, Parsons started working on songs that would eventually end up on The Gilded Palace of Sin.

Leadon was recruited from another country rock band called Dillard & Clark; he had also previously played with future Eagles member Don Henley in a band called Shiloh. Clarke had been the drummer for Buffalo Springfield and continued to work with Neil Young after that band’s break-up.

The Byrds

The Byrds were a hugely influential band, fusing together country and rock to create their own unique sound. They were also one of the first bands to experiment with psychedelic rock, giving them a trippy, out-of-this-world quality that was unlike anything else at the time. If you’re a fan of country rock or psychedelic music, then the Byrds are definitely worth checking out.

Their music

The Byrds were an influential American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim McGuinn until mid-1967) remaining the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas for a short period in the mid-late 1960s, The Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmonies, jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar, and high level of musicianship would be emulated by countless bands that arose in their wake.

The members

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim McGuinn until mid-1967) being the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas for a short period in the mid-1960s, The Byrds’ influence was profound and enduring. Initially, they pioneered the musical genre of folk rock, melding the influence of The Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music. As the 1960s progressed, the band was also influential in originating psychedelic rock, raga rock, and country rock.

The original five-piece lineup of The Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). However, this version of the band was relatively short-lived; by early 1966, Clark had become estranged from the group due to his drug abuse and desired to pursue a solo career. He was quickly replaced by Gram Parsons.[1] Clarke left soon afterwards; he was replaced by a returning Gene Clark. Hillman then persuaded Crosby to leave too so that he could team up with Parsons to form a new country rock group called Flying Burrito Brothers.[2] These changes left Jim McGuinn as the sole leader of The Byrds.[3]

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is the eponymous fourth studio album by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and their first album as a quartet. Released in June 1970 on Atlantic Records, it is one of the first supergroup albums ever released, and contains the hit singles “Woodstock” and “Teach Your Children”. The album was a critical and commercial success, and is considered one of the greatest albums of all time.

Their music

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young were a country rock band that rose to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group was founded by singer-songwriter David Crosby and singer-guitarist Stephen Stills, who were later joined by singer-songwriter Graham Nash and singer-drummer Neil Young. The four members had all been successful solo artists before forming the group, which released its debut album, Crosby, Stills & Nash, in 1969.

The group’s music blended elements of folk, rock, country, and psychedelia, and was marked by intricate vocal harmonies and aggressive guitar playing. Their success was due in part to the fact that each member of the group was an accomplished musician and songwriter, which allowed them to create a rich catalogue of songs. The band’s political views also aligned with the zeitgeist of the early 1970s, and they were outspoken advocates for social and ecological causes.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released four studio albums between 1969 and 1974: Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969), Deja Vu (1970), 4 Way Street (1971), and So Far (1974). All four albums sold millions of copies and were critical and commercial successes. The group amassed a large following of dedicated fans, many of whom continued to support the band throughout its volatile history.

The members

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was a folk rock supergroup made up of four American musicians: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. They were known for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, political activism, and lasting influence on American music and culture.

Crosby was the leader of the Byrds; Stills had played with Buffalo Springfield; Nash was a member of the Hollies; and Young was also a member of Buffalo Springfield as well as a solo artist. Although all four members had previously been successful as part of other groups, it was CSNY’s unique blend of talents that gained them widespread recognition.

The group released four albums together between 1969 and 1974: Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969), Déjà Vu (1970), Four Way Street (1971) CSNY 1974 (1974), and each album received critical acclaim and commercial success. They briefly reunited in 1977 for tour before resuming their individual careers.

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