Bluegrass veteran Lorraine Jordan had an epiphany of sorts when she met country music superstar Garth Brooks. Backstage at the George Jones Tribute Concert November 22, 2013, the Lady of Tradition humbly introduced herself as “just one of the bluegrass people here,” to which Brooks responded with a friendly reprimand. “He said, ‘Don’t ever sell yourself short like that. You guys have a lot of talent. By golly, you guys can play your instruments or sing those harmonies, and I look up to you bluegrass guys. You’re in the trenches and you don’t get to play in front of the millions of people and the big live spotlights and all, but you’re out there and you’re keeping it going for us.’”
That moment solidified Jordan’s belief that the bluegrass community can count on country artists as supporters, not competitors. Bluegrass and country music were united like marriage partners in the early days, but, in time, the two genres were separated. It’s not a reunion that all bluegrass folks want. “There’s a lot of fans and a lot of musicians that are like, ‘Dagum! Why are they in our territory?’” Jordan said. Instead, she thinks, “Look how much they’ve done for us!” She believes having country artists like Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Merle Haggard who have recorded bluegrass projects is a boost to bluegrass.
Jordan is tying the knot between bluegrass and classic country on the new CD, Bluegrass Country, which is due out in early Spring 2015. She and her band, Carolina Road, are providing the instrumentation and harmonies to country hits from Randy Travis (“Diggin’ Up Bones”), John Anderson (“Seminole Wind”), Floyd Cramer (“Last Date”), Lynn Anderson (“I Never Promised You A Rose Garden”), Jim Ed Brown (“You Can Have Her”), John Conlee (“Common Man”), T.G. Sheppard (“Do You Want To Go To Heaven”), Lee Greenwood (“Dixie Road”), Eddy Raven (“I Got Mexico”), Marty Raybon (“Darned If I Don’t, [Dang If I Do]”), and the Kentucky Headhunters (“Runnin’ Water”). Most of the original artists will be singing the lead vocals on their tracks on this project. They recorded with Ronnie Reno, who wrote the Conway Twitty hit “Boogie Grass Band,” which the ensemble of musicians and singers recorded together live at Ricky Skaggs’ studio. Read entire article »