True Grass Again

Many revere Lorraine Jordan as the keeper of tradition in bluegrass music. She originally hailed from the coast of North Carolina but currently resides in Garner, NC, which is just outside of Raleigh, NC. She holds court in her namesake coffee shop/music venue, Lorraine’s Coffee House, when she is not out on the road with her band, Carolina Road. She is a talented performer, songwriter, emcee and show organizer who has received many honors from both the IBMA and SPBGMA for her songwriting and musical performance. We caught up with Lorraine a few days ago and interrupted her busy day to learn a bit about her current musical involvement.

To begin, we acknowledged her longevity in bluegrass music and asked her to give us the Reader’s Digest® version of her music and a snapshot of her career. Ms. Jordan said, “I’ve been playing bluegrass music for about 40 years and I’ve fronted my own band, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, for about 18 years.” She, continued, “We are a traditional bluegrass band and are hard driving all the way; however, in 2016 we did a CD called Country Grass. That was a very special project. We got some classic country artists to sing their songs and we were the backup band and harmony singers. We’re back to traditional grass since then.”

Keepin’ It Real
Traditional music is important to Ms. Jordan and, she has involved herself in several preservation projects trying to keep that old sound alive. I asked her to expound upon that idea a bit. Here is what she told us, “Right now, I see a trend where people are calling whatever they are playing bluegrass no matter whether it includes electric banjos or added guitars or whatever. Someone at a festival wanted to know which type of bluegrass we play—did we play traditional or contemporary style. I replied no, we just play Bluegrass. You do not need to attach a label to bluegrass because when you play bluegrass, it is traditional. I’m not saying bluegrass can’t have a little flavor but it needs to stay with the core instruments like the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and bass. We don’t need anything much past that.”

She and her band have a new single to be released by Pinecastle Records on April 6th titled “True Grass”. Ms. Jordan said, “This song was written by David Stewart who co-writes with Eddie Raven. The song talks about why can’t bluegrass just stay true grass. We think people who want to hear the music like it once was will really like it.”

Something New
The single is from an up-coming album that will release on Pinecastle Records sometime around mid-summer. This new CD is titled True Grass Again. Loraine said, “It is going to feature some big hitters.” The new album features two well known singers in the traditional style—Junior Sisk and Danny Paisley. Also, back in time to sing the last song on the album is Tommy Long, who has been on medical leave recovering from throat cancer. While Tommy was out on medical leave, Jerry Butler, Brad Hudson and Troy Pope filled in for him, and each of these singers are featured on this new CD as well. Lorraine also told us that she wanted some good high baritone singing that is popular in traditional bluegrass so she brought in Randy Gramm to sing a few songs and also sing the harmony parts with her. While the CD features songs by other songwriters, some six or seven of the songs included were penned by Ms. Jordan herself, many that she had not previously recorded.

He’s Back
We asked about Tommy Long’s recovery, and Lorraine said that he is now back full time with Carolina Road and is singing better than ever. Lorraine commented, “When you hear Tommy sing “True Grass Again” on this new CD, you will say, ’Wow’. His voice is now so powerful and pure.”