By Brian Tucker
Jacob Jordan’s debut Find My Way appears to offer up what the musician and singer is capable of while highlighting a storyteller’s (or observer’s) eye for lyric writing. Released March 14th on Stoop Records, the bedroom pop meets indie rock EP circles the board, from catchy rockers to somber material. Jordan’s words and searching, floating vocals are both affecting and confessional, as though ripped from a fiction novel.
Twenty-five and at a crossroads, he’s still young, staring down work and artistic desires like film-making and music making. The latter always there, even recording an acoustic album with his brother Isaac in 2014. Though never released, Jordan’s friends refer to it as “the secret folk album.” Jordan collaborated with Stoop Records’ Kevin Earl (who also released an album this year) for Find My Way, writing bass for the EP’s songs. Jordan sang played instruments for the rest of the album.
On the EP the songs feel like celebration and melancholy. For “600 Miles” the song was made more uplifting by adding gang vocals by friends and Garrett Walters adding drums. It’s freewheeling and manic, just like leaving home, finding your place in the world and looking back. Jordan sings lively affectionately, “Thanks for the “good luck’s, I’ll lace my boots / I’ll tell you the places they take me to.”
“We were finishing up “600 Miles.” Kevin had planned on having a group of friends over that night. We thought it was the perfect opportunity to hijack the situation and ask if they wanted to sing gang vocals over the end of the song,” Jordan said recalling the recording sessions. “That recording is special to me because, through spontaneity and willingness of friends, it became something more than originally intended.
Below, Jordan discusses the EP, recording, and working with Kevin Earl.
What do you see, thinking back on Find My Way?
Jordan: My friends Jordan Malone and Kevin Earl both put a lot of time in learning the songs for the release show. It was a big bummer that we didn’t get to play, but we felt it was the right thing to do in this circumstance. I didn’t plan on recording an album but I had a load of songs. Kevin suggested recording “600 Miles” and I was on board. The album may have come out eventually, but looking back, the release of Find My Way is a testament to the importance of camaraderie with very decent people.
Were songs written for this EP or older songs you’ve had awhile?
Jordan: The songs were written over the past four years. The earliest, “600 Miles,” was written in 2016. We recorded “600 Miles” in early 2018. We recorded the rest of the album in fall of 2019. It was fairly easy to go through songs and find a handful to match the sound and theme of “600 Miles.”
“Move On,” the moments about high contrast, it’s bittersweet and colorful.
Jordan: Contrast is the big one there. Opposites can attract, but don’t fool yourself if otherwise. The “Einstein” line is in reference to his definition of insanity.
“DanceFloor” has great lyrics. Can you share what inspired that song?
Jordan: Thank you. I think it’s about selling yourself short on what you want to do in life. It’s about the crucible of following your dreams and discovering the innate strength to continue on when you fail. I want to be a part of making great movies someday. A lot of analogies in my songs come from movies. I hope people can apply my songs to their own circumstances.
If there’s a theme to the EP would it be ruminating on freedom, a struggle retain it?
Jordan: Yeah. I was a freelance video editor for the majority of my early twenties. I ignored my desire for the performance side of the film industry. Editing was financially realistic and I shut out the idea of pursuing anything else. I felt trapped. The broad theme of the album is struggling to find inner freedom. Finding confidence in uncertainty.
“600 Miles’ is a super positive, fun song that wakes a listener up.
Jordan: Thank you. My dad listened to an artist named Tim O’ Brian when I was a kid. He had a song about a pair of Chuck Taylor (shoes). The chorus of “600 Miles” is homage to the support of my family when I moved out of state and a response to Tim’s song from my dad’s perspective.
You recorded with Kevin Earl. He’s very enthusiastic about making music.
Jordan: Kevin Earl is a rare person. He truly loves making music and supporting other musicians. I don’t think he could live without doing that. He’s always enthusiastic about it and involved in Wilmington’s music scene. During recording I would look over and he would be silently rocking out to the songs. That set the whole tone. When I had spontaneous ideas he would be honest if he thought it worked or not and give me suggestions. He also put a lot of time into mixing the songs and making them road-ready.
Kevin runs Stoop Records, who I released Find My Way under. Stoop has been putting on live stream shows during this pandemic every Friday night. He got the ball rolling and was extremely encouraging. I think it’s safe to say Find My Way wouldn’t have happened without Kevin Earl or Stoop Records. He’s a good friend and a very exceptional person.