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JORDAN BRODIE AND HIS GUITAR ARE IN GOOD COMPANY

Cairns based finger style guitarist Jordan Brodie released his second album, titled In Good Company in March this year. It’s the follow up to his acclaimed debut record First Take, which featured the award winning tune Rainstorm. While First Take showcased the obvious picking talents of the young Queensland Conservatorium of Music graduate, it’s Jordan’s latest disc which really confirms that he’s an artist on the rise.

Written during a tumultuous time of his life in which Jordan lost his dad, the talented musician has injected all of that emotion into a heartfelt recording and created a place where it’s impossible to hold negative thoughts. There’s a real warmth and clarity about In Good Company and in regard to both technique and production quality, Jordan has stepped up a notch too. Over the ten original tracks and one cover, Jordan’s finger work is fluid and dexterous, his hands cascading and flitting effortlessly up and down the fretboard. He’s come a long way since acquiring his first Yamaha nylon string guitar as a kid.

“I guess I started out like most kids, I wanted to be a rock star,” Jordan tells me, reflecting on the beginning of his music career. “Then my teacher showed me the acoustic guitar and I fell in love with the challenge of that. He was the one who introduced me to fingerstyle guitar, which is the style I now play. I play with my fingers and play bass, rhythm and melody all together on one guitar. I knew I wanted to pursue music at an early age, so after I finished school I went and studied at the Queensland Conservatorium, studying jazz guitar. After 3 years I graduated and from then, I started playing as a professional musician.”

Jordan initially looked to home-grown finger pickers such as Tommy Emmanuel, Bruce Mathiske and Michael Fix for his fingerstyle inspiration. As his curiosity developed, he searched further and also found some international players to draw from, such as Swedish guitarist Emil Ernebro, and Americans Julian Lage, Ralph Towner, and Pat Metheny. However, as a recording artist who appreciates the subtleties of the studio, Jordan still looks to Tommy Emmanuel as the benchmark for guitar albums.
“I always thought Tommy Emmanuel’s albums were mind blowing, just the full bodied guitar sound, the power of it. With my album, I guess I was going for a warm but full kind of sound for my songs too.”

In Good Company was written over a three year period while Jordan was studying at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
“Being around a group of musicians, artists that have dreams like yourself, it’s inspirational to be in that environment,” he says of his time at the Con. “I met a lot of cool people there. So those songs came about through being in that environment. I’m also inspired a lot by Cairns, where I am from, the mountains and greenery. The album is also a tribute to my father who passed away a couple of years, so it is a collection of songs that he loved. It was a special album going through that period of my life. He was definitely my biggest fan. He would always be listening to music and be sitting down listening to my stuff, giving me ideas.”

The album was recorded at Pegasus Studios in Cairns with Nigel Pegrum in the production chair. Pegrum is a well known local producer who has worked with indigenous artist Seaman Dan and won a Best World Music ARIA with him in 2004. While Jordan was very much hands on with the album’s production too, Pegrum was able to steer Jordan in the right direction when required
“I’m a perfectionist, so I was super fussy with my guitar takes,” Jordan says. “It was a bit of a learning curve where I had to accept some things and move on, otherwise you could go insane.”

Despite In Good Company being a solo guitar album, you’ll notice quite an alien sound on the track Travels, that you probably won’t be able to quite put your finger on. Jordan tells me it’s a relatively new instrument called a Handpan
“It’s called the Handpan or The Hang,” he explains. “I think it was invented in the early 2000s in Sweden. Each pan is in a different minor key. That song is in c minor. I wrote that song while I was in China. I didn’t have a guitar with me, so had to sing melodies into my phone. I wanted to get it down while I was inspired by the bustling city and it’s sounds. I wrote it out on my music software on the plane home. The whole song was finished before I even touched the guitar. Then I thought it would be really nice to add Handpan to it, to give it that Chinese inspired metallic sound.”

With the album released, Jordan now turns his attention to a national tour beginning in Cairns on April 14, then working his way down the coast to Melbourne by the end of June. In July he heads to Canada for a series of house concerts, before crossing the ditch to Europe, where he has no plans other than to ”wing it!”

Jordan is content to concentrate on his solo guitar exploits at the moment with no urgent desire to break out into a different format.
“For now, it’s all going well,” he says. “I am in a few other projects with other people, so that is good to have. I really enjoy the challenge of solo guitar, no effects, just raw guitar with me trying to do everything. Sure, down the line I’d like to collaborate with other people but we’ll see.”

Interview by Greg Phillips.

Jordan Brodie Tour dates:
14th April: McLaughlin Theatre, Cairns
15th April: Tablelands Music Lovers, Atherton
19th April: Bellevue Hotel (Folk Club), Townsville
20th April: Live at the Shack, Mackay
22nd April: House Concert, Sunshine Coast
28th April: Jazz Music Institute (JMI), Brisbane
29th April: Zamia Theatre, Mt Tamborine
4th May: The Naked Bean, Grafton
5th May: 5 Church Street, Bellingen
6th May: House Concert, Port Macquarie
10th May: 5 Sawyers, Newcastle
12th May: Humph Hall, Sydney
13th May: House Concert, Sydney
7th – 10th June: Palm Creek Folk Festival, Townsville
29th June – 1st July: Newport Folk Festival, Melbourne

In Good Company is out now through MGM distribution

https://jordanbrodie.com

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