Jordan Tice – Motivational Speakeasy – September 25, 2020
It’s not that Jordan Tice is living on the fringes of Nashville, holed up during quarantine in a little house in Madison, Tennessee. It’s that he’s living in a Nashville that’s based more on the community roots of the music than on the glitz of country stars in secluded recording studios. He’s living in a Nashville that’s moved even beyond East Nashville’s underground Americana scene to a more free-wheeling house session community based in Madison. Late night cosmic Americana picking parties at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, or back porch sessions within spitting distance of John Hartford’s cottage next to the lazy Cumberland River, it all lends a spontaneity to the music that’s based on the joy of invention and creativity and less on finger-busting virtuosity. Tice is a collaborator by nature, known for his work with groundbreaking progressive stringband Hawktail (featuring Brittany Haas and Paul Kowert of the Punch Brothers), but his new album, Motivational Speakeasy (coming September 25, 2020), is a solo affair, just Tice and his beloved and well-worn Collings guitar. Hawktail’s music showcases Tice’s remarkable instrumental skill, and here his guitar work is as crisp and intricate as ever, informed by everything from classical ragtime to psychedelic newgrass. Produced by close friend Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids, the focus of the recording was on finding the heart of Tice’s original songs and instrumentals, and showcasing his deep explorations into American fingerstyle guitar, nodding to purveyors such as Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Mississippi John Hurt, Norman Blake, and David Bromberg.