ALBUM PREMIERE: Jordan Whitmore Merges Rootsy Pop and Americana with Eclectic EP ‘Good Things’

“I’m ready for something different,” Jordan Whitmore sings during the first minute of Good Things, a record that merges together the sounds of her past — from the indie-pop of the Fondly EP to the Americana of Other Side — to create its own eclectic brand of rootsy pop/Americana.

Now five records into her career, Whitmore has maintained her artistic independence while racking up a list of accolades. Her sharply-written songs have been finalists at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and award-winners at the National Unplugged Songwriting Contest. They’ve told the story of her life, too, serving as the soundtrack for the heartaches, hard roads, and happy moments of an adulthood often spent onstage and in the writing room.

With Good Things, which is out September 6th, she brings that sound full circle, touching upon the melody-heavy chops that helped launch her career while also pushing into unexplored territory. From the ’90s-influenced guitars and dark, deep vocals of “All My Might” to the Sheryl Crow-worthy “Something Different,” Good Things casts its net wide, heralding the changing seasons in Whitmore’s life with a bolder, broader sound.

Years earlier, when she left Austin and moved to the small town of Granbury, Texas, Whitmore wasn’t only leaving the place she’d called home throughout adulthood. She was leaving the city where she’d launched her career. For years, Austin had been her musical headquarters, inspiring the diverse songwriting that filled her records. It also introduced her to producer Brian Douglas Phillips, who produced her 2014 album, Other Side, as well as singles like “Here’s To You” and “I Promise.”

Whitmore makes sense of new surroundings with Good Things, an album about changes, challenges, time, and the love that makes it all worthwhile. It’s more guitar-driven than Other Side and more diverse than anything else in her catalog. It also finds her working once again with Phillips.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive early listen before its September 6th. With its heartland rock and roll and infectious pop hook, “Something Different” kicks off the album with a big statement. From there Whitmore drifts into a straightforward love song before getting twangier with the poppy country-inflected “Changing Your Mind”. She also balances heartfelt and tender Americana on “What If” with hard-hitting bluesy rock and roll on the album’s title track before ending with the gorgeous, pedal steel-driven ballad “I Wish You Would”. Throughout the album we hear influences of acts ranging from Aimee Mann and Shawn Colvin to Alabama Shakes, revealing Whitmore’s open-minded, eclectic approach to crafting her own songs. She uses an equally eclectic ranges of instruments such as acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer, pedal steel, organ, baritone guitar, and even congas and pocket piano. All of this culminates in a collection of songs that look ahead toward brighter horizons from an artist who is definitely onto bigger and brighter things. 

Listen to the album and read our chat with Jordan Whitmore below…

Was there an “aha” moment when you decided to do this EP?

The aha moment was when the songs started flowing again. I had been through a rough season of transition and losing someone I loved, so for a while, the only songs that came to the surface were really sad ones that I didn’t necessarily want to put out into the world. But these songs were different because I felt good singing them. I had an excitement when they happened that I’d been missing, and I knew I was onto something. Creatively, it felt a little like the sun was finally peaking through the clouds.

Tell us about your writing and recording process — did you write the songs over a long period of time or quickly? How was it working on these songs in the studio? Any great stories from while you were in the studio?

All of the songs were written pretty close together, with the exception of “All My Might.” That one was an older one that had been on the shelf for a little while. But the timing felt right to bring it to life. And of course there were some that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. I debated on whether or not to do a full-length album, because I had enough songs, but ultimately decided that less was more in this case. Who knows…some of those might be released in the future.

Recording is my second favorite thing, after writing. Getting in a room with Brian (my producer) first, and then the players, and bouncing ideas off of one another — you get to sort of witness the song take on a life of its own. Sometimes the feel ends up being something completely different from what I imagined, but I love those little surprises that happen in the collaborative process. “Good Things” was one of those — the tempo was too quick for my vocal phrasing, so we had to totally change the feel to make it work. I think if you keep an open mind around stuff like that, you have a lot more fun and get to explore new territory as an artist. Once we had the form and vibe we were going for with each song, we cut it live multiple times until we had a great take to go from. Then we sort of built from there. At this point, working with Brian is so comfortable that it makes it easier to just be in the moment and fully enjoy the process.

The press materials say this EP is about change and about waiting. Can you expand on those topics and how they are manifested in the songs on the EP? What do you hope listeners gain from your music?

I didn’t set out to write on a certain theme, but I realized once the songs kept coming that they shared this common thread of “time” — whether it’s waiting for time to move you toward what you want (“Good Things,” “I Wish You Would”), cherishing the time you have left with someone (“All My Might”), or seizing the moment and making a change (“Something Different”) — these songs definitely explore my own relationship with time. My writing is almost always my processing of my own life or the world around me, but ultimately I want people to hear their own stories in these songs and feel like they were written just for them. That connection is where the musical magic is, I think.

What’s next for Jordan Whitmore?

Next up is Christmas music! I’m heading into the studio soon to cut a song or two to release for the holidays — the plan is to do an original and a cover, but that could change. Then I have plans to do an acoustic project in the spring. Gotta keep this thing going!

Good Things is out September 6th.

Photo credit: Heather Scott, Royal Lune Photo

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