Just a few days ago we were commenting on the robust health of traditional bluegrass even as alternative and grass-influenced styles of music see renewed energy in the market. More evidence comes in the form of a new self-titled CD from Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road on Pinecastle Records.
Over the past few years this North Carolina aggregation has developed into a top flight band with an entertaining live show, and this new project demonstrates their strengths ably.
There are not many male singers on the scene with a more sincere and plaintive voice than Tommy Long, and Ben Greene has few peers on the banjo in the Scruggs style. Likewise, Josh Goforth fiddles up a storm wherever he’s been, and lays down some fine Dempsey Young-inspired mandolin here for good measure.
Jordan has seen greater and greater success as she has taken on more of a role as an MC and band leader, and turning over the majority of the lead vocals to Long. She does take one lead on the new album, but serves more as the tenor singer and mandolinist. There are a pair of her originals songs to be found on Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road as well.
The band is completed by their newest member, John Bradley, on bass.
All the songs are enjoyable, with a few that really stand out. That’s Kentucky, the opening track, may be the most memorable song from Dixie and Tom T. Hall to come down the pike in many a year. State songs have a long history in our history, and this one lists a good many attributes of the Bluegrass State, complete with twin fiddles and a spot-on treatment from Long.
That one is followed by a ripping version of Living With The Shades Pulled Down, popularized by Merle Haggard, written by Felice And Boudleaux Bryant with the Hag. Even faster is All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye, from the prolific pens of Ray Edwards and Terry Foust, which give Long a chance to showcase his baritone growl. Tommy also contributes a fine new bluesy number in I Heard You Call His Name Last Night, which features some fine finger style guitar.
The record closes with a spirited version of the fiddle favorite, Liza Jane, with Goforth and Greene absolutely tearing it up.
Special credit goes to Josh Goforth who not only produced, but played the utility infielder position on fiddle, guitar and mandolin, sang bass, baritone, tenor and lead vocals, and wrote two of the songs (Suitcase Of Your Heart, I Saw The Golden Stairs).
Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road is available wherever bluegrass CDs and downloads are sold.