Jordan Tice is a singular voice on the American roots music scene. Over the last ten years, he has developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. Jordan has a voice and sonic aesthetic that is all his own with which he filters the sounds and conventions of American Music into something unique. On his latest release, “Horse County”, he also demonstrates a unique voice as a songwriter and singer in addition to his known guitar and tune-crafting skills.
Born into a bluegrass family in Maryland, Jordan started early, playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes with some of the best players in the fertile mid-atlantic bluegrass scene. He released his first solo record of mostly original music at the age of 17 called “No Place Better” (2005) to critical acclaim within the bluegrass world. He quickly followed it up with “Long Story” (2007) a collection of original instrumentals that featured an all-star band of Noam Pikelny on banjo, Casey Driessen on fiddle, Andy Hall on dobro, and Mark Schatz on bass. With his next release, “The Secret History” (2011), Jordan further pushed the limits of the absolute expressiveness of an acoustic ensemble. This outing, featuring Paul Kowert on bass and Simon Chrisman on hammered dulcimer, contained longer more through-composed pieces that despite their length never lost sight of the colorful hooks and beautiful and humorous sentiments that define Jordan’s work.
The development of Jordan’s creative work as a solo artist is only one narrative that defines his career. Since first busting onto the scene, he has also been an active sideman with progressive bluegrass pioneers like Frank Wakefield, Mark Schatz and friends, and Tony Trischka, lending his guitar playing to their endeavors both on stage and in the studio. He also contributed his mandolin playing skills to the Dave Rawlings Machine record “Nashville Obsolete” (2015), toured with the Canadian folk group, The Duhks, and worked with actor/comedian Steve Martin on his re-imagining of the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” for New York City’s “Shakespeare in the Park”.
Bridging the sideman and bandleader gap, Jordan is an active collaborator as well. His record “Corbett Chrisman Tice” (2008) with hammered dulcimer player, Simon Chrisman and banjoist, Wes Corbett was hailed as one of the top 5 records of the year by the Chicago tribune in 2008. Since 2014 he has worked closely with fiddler Brittany Haas (Crooked Still, Dave Rawlings Machine) and bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers, Dave Rawlings Machine) in the trio Haas Kowert Tice. They released their debut record “You Got This” in 2014 and are set to release another in fall 2016.
This brings us to the present and Jordan’s latest release, “Horse County”. Horse County is not a real place and in fact there is nothing else called Horse County in the world. The record is Jordan’s first to feature his singing and original songs in addition to his picking and tune-writing. The 11 tracks (6 songs and 5 instrumentals) combine many American folk music conventions with Jordan’s eccentric harmonic, melodic, and lyrical sense. The songs seem to be written by someone who has been at it their whole life and each one explodes with craft, color, and personality.