Jordan Okrend Experience @ Ambrose West 7-6-2018
The Jordan Okrend Experience is more than one thing. First, there is the signature sound, vintage pop imbued with an infectious funky jazz edge. There is also something else. Soulful music with socially conscious lyrics, that has all been but lost in today’s current pop climate.
The Asheville NC based singer/songwriter released his first two EP’s, Unpredictable and Rising Up, between 2010 and 2012 while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been performing extensively throughout the East Coast ever since. His 2015 EP World Keeps Turnin was a clear indication that Okrend had thrown his hat into the ring of other soul revival upstarts such as Allen Stone and Michael Kiwanuka. The EP blended the old school with the contemporary while echoing the conscious elements of his musical heroes-Lennon, Hendrix and Marley. Since settling in Asheville NC in 2016, Okrend has continued with his impressive musical journey. He was a winner in Asheville’s Brown Bag Songwriting Competition and was also named as one of the top acts to see at MONDO, NYC .
Okrend’s new album, Dance By The Riverside is a buoyant meditation of the stresses of the modern world, with a distinctively funk and retro soul vibe. It may bring to mind classic soul artists like Stevie Wonder, but has a sound that firmly belongs in these times. With lyrics that reference “social media” as in the single Dance by The Riverside, the phenomenon of “ghosting” as in the hooky electric guitar driven Stranded, the call for “Unity” in the bonus live acoustic track written in response to the 2016 election, these songs resonate.
Recorded at Sound Temple Studios in Asheville, NC with engineer Robert George, there is a certain uncontrived timeless quality in the material that resulted from Jordan’s spontaneous approach to playing and recording. Four of the eight tracks on the album are marked by their use of horns that echo over catchy hooks including the single, Dance By The Riverside. The single also made into an Official Video was filmed by the French Broad River in Asheville, NC and captures the joy, freedom and positive vibes of Jordan’s music. “The emphasis is on speaking to the human experience”, Okrend asserts. “I hope this album inspires and uplifts all who hear it.”