• James Harvey

Album Review - Motivational Speakeasy - Jordan Tice - 2020


I’m going to start with one of my stories from my youth; please do bear with me on this.

When I was in my late teens’, early twenties (a wee while ago now), I spent a good few weekend visiting friends in a little town in South East England called London, you may have heard of her.


Spending time in Pimlico, Brixton and/or Soho, depending on the friends I was visiting, we would make our way off the main streets, down the back alleys, and into litter covered backstreets; the parts of London, where people actually lived.


These are the places you won’t see on Instagram today or indeed places that people even mention visiting. Yet it is here you will find the watering holes that the locals cram into on their nights off.


There would always be two guys propping up the outer door, chatting away with a pint in their hands, giving us a welcoming nod as we walk past. Then opening the main door we'd be greeted by a wall of cigarette smoke (yes, back then you could smoke indoors, that’s how old I am!). Finding your way over to a worn wooden stool by the bar, an always smiling landlord would ask you to name your poison.


Then you would settle down, brew in hand, to give a warm welcome to a folk singer making their way onto the stage, a fag (slang for cigarette in England) and pint in one hand, and a guitar in the other.


© Jordan Tice

These are the good artists, the singer/songwriters that stick in your mind and transport you out of that ill-lit bar to places you may never have heard of. These are the Dylans, Baez, Guthries, Rusbys, Hinds and Hartfords. The artists that have something to say, who talk about life experiences they have personally lived, who tell a story with consummate ease.


They don’t ‘play’ their instrument, they are a part of them, it comes as naturally to these people as breathing does to us. Most importantly they are comfortable in their art, which after a rather long intro, brings me nicely to Jordan Tice. A singer/songwriter currently residing in Madison, Tennessee, one you may have heard of, as he is a part of the rather (need to stop using that word) good, Hawktail.


© Jordan Tice

Motivational Speakeasy is Jordan’s solo album, written pre-lockdown while he traveled lands, both familiar as well as untrodden by him. Jordan Tice, sets the pace of the album right from the start with ‘Tell Me Mama’. This isn’t a quick, few chords and catchy chorus, it’s beautifully thought out fingerpicking guitar, catching your subconscious and transporting it to his world.


Meanwhile, Jordan, strolls alongside you, sharing his story with you, rather (sorry) than speaking at you. It’s not just a fantastic song, but a clear view of what to expect from the rest of the album.


I was immediately relaxed and while I had the feeling I was listening to something familiar (in a good way), the experience was still new; interesting and pleasing enough to bring a smile to my face. I could smell that smoke-filled bar in the backstreets of London again, in the back of my mind. And this, I remind you, is just the first track of an eleven-track album.


I will get this out the way now, there isn’t a weak track on the album, but if I talk about them all, we will be here for a while, so I have picked out my favourites to mention.


© Jordan Tice

Walkin’’ the third track of the album, speeds up the tempo a wee bit, instead of a walk, we are in a hurried pace, in order to get somewhere in time for something. What that somewhere or something is, is one of life’s big questions.


Yet, that’s a moot point, as the story is more a look at our life in general, we are born, hurry about, then die, never really getting to that place or doing what we wanted. Life is full of twists and turns, Jordan Tice does an amazing job of showing this via some great fingerpicking and lyrical composition, using his own experiences in such a way, it’s like they had transmogrified into my own, without me really thinking about it, such is the art of a good storyteller.


Where I’m at’ another story about life’s continuous movement with Jordan’s sprightliness, it remains fresh and new, yet all the while maintaining the albums providential tone. ‘Ready to Go’, my favourite track on the album, gives an excellent example of Jordan’s skill as a storyteller and guitarist. This is the song, that for me, conjurors up images of a John Hartford or Woody Guthrie, tale. Placing Jordan Tice, for me at least, firmly on that level when it comes to describing the icons of this style of the folk genre.


© Jordan Tice

With the risk of rambling on all night, it’s now two a.m. here and there is a gale joint with a thunderstorm, on the way. So I’m not sure how long I shall have power, to continue this exploration of Motivational Speakeasy, should said gale, hit tonight.


So, to wrap it up, this album is an exploration of Jordan’s life. With command over his chosen instrument and the ease in which Jordan Tice tells his stories, we traverse his world of relationships, breakups, travelling, gigging, birth, death, god and time itself. Somewhere along this journey, we have been invited too, a metamorphosis takes place and they become our life, our questions, our experiences.


2020 while a catastrophe in general for the entire human race, has seen some of the best albums in varying sub-genres of folk and Jordan Tice, continues this with Motivational Speakeasy.


Jordan Tice, doesn’t mess around in the shadows of giants; he seizes his place on the podium of American storytellers. Acing both the American finger-style of this chosen genre and the beautiful art of telling one heck of a yarn.

Motivational Speakeasy is release on the 25th September 2020 and you can grab your pre-order here.


For more information on Jordan Tice, you can take a stroll to his Facebook here.bum to preview.


A big thank you to Devon Léger from Hearth Music/HearthPR for sending us the album to review.


© Jordan Tice


Stay Safe - Stay Well - Peace & Love.

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© James Harvey 2020 - Designed by James Harvey - Art Work © Valeriy 2020, Used Under License Via Adobe Stock

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