Jana Pendragon was born in Reno, NV at a time when the cowboy culture of the wild, wild west and the hip, ultra-cool casino showroom blended seamlessly. Influenced by both parents, her father being a cowboy in the cattle business and her mother a 21 dealer who loved all kinds of music and exposed her daughter to them, Pendragon spent the first seven years of her life in a unique culture that allowed her to discover Elvis at the age of three while joining her parents at the famous Riverside Hotel Casino Showroom on the banks of the Truckee River to see her favorites, the Mills Brothers, perform. The horse culture of Nevada and cowboy music and poetry were also tremendously influential, as was Dean Martin, Hank Williams, Sr., Patti Page, Johnny Horton, Trini Lopez, the honky tonk sounds of the San Joaquin Valley, Buck Owens, and of course, Elvis and a myriad of rock performers who could be heard on AM radio alongside the aforementioned giants, as well as Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, and the Rolling Stones.
Reading and writing became passions, and Pendragon decided early on to become a writer. She also decided to be involved with the music that continued to buoy her through a harsh adolescence. College was a time of discovery and the study of writing, literature, history, theater, and film dominated. At one point while still living in Reno, Pendragon was a DJ on a real country & western radio station where the playlists were large and DJs had a say in what they could play. Pendragon was known for digging out the classics and loved to spin old Hank as well as Roy Acuff, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, or a dusty "Mule Skinner's Blues" by the Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose.
Completing two degrees in history, including the publication of a Masters thesis dealing with popular American culture, Pendragon saw this as the foundation for her writing career. Believing in honest research and passionate writing, history proved to be a solid teacher for a budding journalist whose focus was traditional country & western music as well as the documentation of those all important artists, past, present and future.
Located in the Los Angeles area where the Bakersfield Sound is held in high regard by the almost-underground country and roots music community, Pendragon continues to write for many publications across the country and support the survival of traditional country and roots music while specializing in the Bakersfield Sound, the L.A. scene, and the many neo-traditionalists from around the country. Additionally, Pendragon teaches at the college and adult levels. She recently finished conducting a course covering the History of Country and Western Music and will be teaching similar classes covering Native American Spirituality, Cowboy Poetry, and Arthurian History and Literature. She can be heard on the third Thursday of the month on radio station KXLU-88.9FM in Los Angeles presenting live music from the Bakersfield/L.A. country and roots music community.
Desert Island Picks
Mills Brothers Standin' on the Corner Watchin' All the Girls Go By
Patti Page, anything with "Tennessee Waltz" and "Doggie in the Window"
Bessie Smith Box Set
Hillbilly Heaven, all volumes
Town South of Bakersfield all volumes
Jean Shepard, the Country Music Foundation collection
Wynn Stewart The Challenge Masters
Bonnie Owens...anything she sings on...
And the new stuff by John Bunzow, Mike Ireland, Robbie Fulks, Bob Woodruff, Scott Joss, Patty Booker, Backsliders, Hollisters, Jack Ingram, Jack Leaver, Neil Mooney, Cowboy Nation, Kevin Banford, the Trailer Park Casanovas, Hank Sr. Box, and some Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills.