What does it take to kickstart a music project? In the case of Jordan Baron and Russ Williamson, it was a convenient coincidence between a Pearl Django concert, an Alaskan's open mic night, and a cameo by two of my good friends, Brandon Howard and Chelsie Harris.
Apparently, Brandon and Chelsie met "No Fuss" Russ Williamson, a horn player hailing from Athens, Ga., at a Pearl Django show, and he mentioned that he was hoping to play at the Alaskan's Thursday night open mic. Having made friends, the three souls adjourned to said establishment, where they happened upon Jordan Baron, a singer and songwriter from Tennessee. Cue Brandon and Chelsie:
"During my set, two people came up and asked if I'd be interested in playing with a trumpeter. At first I was gonna say no, because I was imagining a band geek in the corner, but I figured why not?" says Jordan, speaking of the event later.
"So Jordan comes over, says 'What do you want to play, dude?' He laid down some 12-bar, and we're on the sidewalk jammin'" adds Russ, finishing the tale.
"it was the best show that I'd seen at the Alaskan - you could tell they really clicked," said Brandon, happy to have helped them make the connection.
Since that fateful meeting, the two have been up to all kinds of no good: they've been performing at the Alaskan, Squire's Rest and the UAS Rec Center, have hooked up with Ryan Cortez, a local drummer and written a song, titled "Gotta Believe."
"I'm sitting there in the living room of the house we're in, and he started pickin' this tune, and I just really got inspired; then he hit the chorus line of it, and I just come out with 'whooo-ooo-oooah, you gotta belie-ie-ieve'. That's it. But Jordan ran with it and has come out with a fabulous tune," Russ said.
The two have a distinct Southern gentility that doesn't seem feigned, forced or out of place; they're both very polite and speak with charmingly slight drawls. Jordan in particular has a humble and warm presence. It's the evening after their warm reception as the Jordan Baron Band at the UAS Rec Center, and it would seem that they're still basking in it a bit.
"The crowd was really great; one girl sent us an email last night and said that she thought Jordan sounded like a modern Cat Stevens," mentions Russ.
Personally, I would put Jordan in the same vein; he's got a similar down-to-earth vibe and mission: he's out to make the world a better place through music.
"My music is not necessarily going to be about having a great time as much as it is about challenging people to rethink - I want to make sure that there's an inspirational voice for them to hear," he says.
The two will be shipping out of Juneau very soon (Russ flew out this morning, actually). Jordan has plans to roadtrip through Yukon, and Russ is headed to Puerto Rico to wrap up his season with the cruise industry down there, but the two are planning to reunite in late December/early January to begin gigging in Nashville and to set up a touring circuit between Nashville, New Orleans and Ft. Lauderdale. You can check out their music at www.jordanbaron.com.
Until next time, my fellow peace and love makers, this is Tyler Preston, signing out.
yler Preston is a guitar slinger and singer in the Juneau music scene. You can check him out at www.tylerpreston.com and access archives of this column at thenorthwestsound.blogspot.com (nope, there's no www in that address.)