Lorraine Jordan has been a household name in bluegrass music for several decades. Known as the Lady of Tradition, Lorraine and her band Carolina Road have scored multiple hits on the bluegrass charts, and numerous fans in the U.S. and beyond. With the release of their new Gospel recording, I Can Go To Them on Pinecastle Records, Jordan and Carolina Road apply their characteristic traditional stylings to the spiritual side of Bluegrass music.
As a bandleader, one of Jordan’s greatest strengths is finding strong talent. The current lineup of Carolina Road is no exception. Along with long time member, Ben Greene, on banjo and industry veteran Randy Graham on guitar, the group also consists of guitarist Allen Dyer, Kevin Lamm on bass, and Matt Hooper on fiddle. Joe Pessolano also makes a guest appearance playing guitar and singing low tenor vocals.
The material featured on I Can Go To Them is primarily standard bluegrass Gospel fare. Regardless, these songs suit Lorraine and the band really well. The opening track, Going Up, is filled with energy and features a nice vocal tradeoff with Randy Graham singing lead on the verses and Jordan on the chorus. Other recognizable songs include Brush Arbors, Happy On My Way, and Jesus Hold My Hand.
Lessons Of The Book is an original by Lorraine Jordan. While the song itself contains a great message about what the Bible can teach, it’s also a fine example of Carolina Road’s vocal talents. Travel, Travel On and He Will Set Your Fields On Fire are great displays of the band’s musicianship, particularly Jordan’s mandolin playing.
The ultimate highlight of this recording is the acapella piece, I Cannot Bring Them Back (But I Can Go To Them). While there are other wonderful examples of Lorraine and Carolina Road utilizing quartet style singing, this piece is perhaps the most soulful of the entire project. From the minute you hear Randy Graham’s lone lead vocal at the start of the song you can’t help, but be drawn in. The harmonies from Jordan and the rest of the band are strong and dynamic. It’s the epitome of traditional mountain style singing in the 21st century.
I Can Go To Them is not only another great example of bluegrass Gospel music, but also further evidence of Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road bringing their own brand of tradition to the table.