Jordan Officer

It’s fair to say that Jordan Officer is one of Montreal’s favourite musical sons. We’ve watched his career progress and continue to enjoy his thoughtful and melodic guitar playing and smooth singing. I recently met with Jordan to talk about his newest album Three Rivers; its developmental process and the recording sessions.

“Before recording this album, my wife and I packed up our children and we did an extended road trip through Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. I wanted to get the feel of the environment that spawned the blues, jazz and Texas swing music that I have been playing for years – to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of that music.”

Jordan Officer

Jordan Officer performances have a mixture of blues, jazz and a little country

“When I played my acoustic guitar on the steps of the house where Muddy Waters grew up, it was like being in a church; hearing my notes in the same acoustics the Muddy heard when he sat in the same place and played his guitar. I tell you – it gave me goose bumps… It re-kindled my love for all those genres of music.”

Jordan studied jazz performance at McGill for two years, and his musical style tends to favour melody over technical skill, although he is quite capable of blazing speed on the fret board of his guitar. There is enough space in Jordan’s playing to give the listener time to follow your own thoughts and emotions. The hallmark of a Jordan Officer recording is the stripped down simplicity that sounds like a live band. And that’s because Jordan records “live from the floor”. The musicians are playing as a band, and there’s a minimum of overdubbing. There’s no ‘Hollywood’ on a Jordan Officer recording – just solid musicianship and a dedication to the spirit of the song.

“I was working on the songs as we travelled, and communicating with Charley Drayton who would produce the album at his friend Tim Hatfield’s studio in Brooklyn. Charley played on Blue Skies, and I was looking forward to working with him again in his role as producer and musician. What took us by surprise was how well Charley can sing – that was an unexpected bonus!” Charley Drayton has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists that includes Keith Richards of the Rollin Stones, Miles Davis and Neil Young.

“I played violin when I was a child, learning with the Suzuki Method; and I started playing again when our children started taking lessons. I’ve worked it into our shows, and I play on the album. I also play lap steel in our shows, and we included some of that on Three Rivers too.”

A road trip through the Southern US wouldn’t be complete without taking in some gospel music, and you can hear those influences on Three Rivers. “We came across a Gospel Church where the choir was accompanied by lap and pedal steel guitars instead of an organ, and it was an eye-opening experience. That gospel influence is prevalent in Felt So Good.” Indeed Jordan and Charley created a mini-gospel choir in Tim Hatfield’s studio.

Some Jordan’s personal favourites include Your Body Is My Home, “it’s an intensely personal song” and One-Handed Push-Ups; “it’s kind of my Who Do You Love or I’m A Man” he states with a smile.

Three Rivers is a fine album that is earning terrific reviews – and well worth adding to your musical collection. Jordan will be performing with his trio as part of the TD Jazz D’ICI series at the club-style L’Astral at 6pm on July 5. For tickets, please visit or call: 1-855-790-1245. L’Astral is located at 305 Ste-Catherine St. West, (near Bleury).

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