ON THE ROAD
By Lynn Seldon
Whether you spend life on the road for pleasure or work, it’s nice to have the comforts of home as you travel the highways and byways.
TRAILBLAZER checks in with folks who spend a fair amount of time on the road to see just what makes their home away from home.
This month, we chatted with Carolina Road’s LORRAINE JORDAN & CAROLINA ROAD
A Lady of Tradition Hits the Road
Quite simply Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road are well on the road to superstardom in the bluegrass world and beyond. Lorraine and her band took home three major awards at the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association’s 41st Annual Bluegrass Awards in February. The band won Song of the Year for their hit, “That’s Kentucky,” while Jordan won for Female Vocalist of the Year (Traditional) and long-time Carolina Road banjo player, Bob Green, won Banjo Player of the Year.
“With so many great nominees, it is truly an honor to be recognized for doing something we love,” says Jordan. “We are especially grateful to be able to celebrate the work of the late Dixie Hall, who was a co-writer on “That’s Kentucky.”
Affectionately known as the ‘Lady of Tradition’ in the bluegrass music community, Lorraine Jordan grew up around the style on the coast of North Carolina. Jordan has performed for more than 20 years and formed Carolina Road in 1998. She continues to be a driving force behind the band’s popularity and longevity as a consummate performer, songwriter, and show organizer. She now resides in Garner, North Carolina, near Raleigh.
Jordan plays a ‘Monroe-style mandolin’ and is known for her hard-driving mandolin chop. “Being able to create great music and share it with others is our dream,” says Jordan.
Tell us a little bit about your home away from home.
It’s a 1994 Prevost 45-foot tour bus. It used to belong to Amy Grant before I got it. There are five closets, two of which I use and the boys use the rest of them for their stuff. In the back room, there is a U-shaped couch with a TV and sound. Sometimes we use that room for meetings and music rehearsals before going on stage. On the sides of the bus you see that it says, ‘Lady of Tradition.’ This title was given to me by [the late] Miss Dixie Hall. She also wrote a song about it. It’s a very comfortable home away from home bus.
What’s your favorite thing about staying on your bus versus a hotel room?
I love to sleep late in the mornings. So one of my favorite things is being able to sleep in without having to get interrupted by room service or having to be up early to “check out” by a certain time. The band and I like to jam sometimes while on the road. We can easily do that on the bus. Hotels kind of frown upon “noise” while people are trying to sleep. If you know me, you know how much of a dog lover I am. I have two adorable 12-year-old Maltese: JD and Polly. With my traveling schedule I am not at home much. With having a bus to stay on, I can easily bring my travel companions with me and not worry about finding a “pet friendly” hotel while on the road. They love to travel just as much as I do. The boys and I are on the bus just like a family would be traveling down the road.
What are some favorite things onboard?
While onboard, I like to call promoters to get future bookings and do other work-related stuff. I’m a big Facebook junkie, so I love catching up on Facebook while being on the bus. I also enjoy talking on the phone with my family and friends. The band and I like to write songs and practice music while going down the road.
Do you listen to music on the road?
Of course! We play CDs from our collections of other bands and keep it on Old Country Show on Sirius XM. When we go through towns that have bluegrass stations, we like to call in and say hi. Currently, we are listening to a lot of Kentucky Headhunters and Eddy Raven, since we will be performing shows with them soon.
What are a few favorite destinations?
Anywhere that there is no snow! We don’t like to travel in the snow because we are from the south and can’t drive in it. For the winter, we like to travel south and for the summer we go up north. We love to travel to the western parts of the USA. We seldom get to visit, but we thoroughly enjoy visiting when we have the opportunity. Our favorite place to go is Cabela’s in Michigan. My boys just love that place! I love a good truck stop.
Do y’all like highways or scenic routes?
I think it’s a little bit of both. During the spring, summer, and fall time, we love to take scenic routes. The highway can get a bit old and boring sometimes. When it’s really nice out and there is a scenic route to take, we take it. As for the winter months of traveling, just to be on the safe side with the crazy weather we mostly take the highway.
What’s your favorite meal to enjoy onboard or on the road?
On the road, I eat most of my meals at Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans. I have thought of asking them for a sponsorship. I like banana sandwiches and tomato sandwiches as well. Quite often, fans bring us homemade meals, which I really enjoy. Several fans cook for us at festivals and let us take the leftovers to eat on the bus on the way home. We always keep the microwave busy on the way home. On the bus, our favorite snack is popcorn. I drink a lot of Diet Mountain Dew. My banjo player, Ben Greene, eats on the bus all the time. His favorite things to eat are canned tuna, sardines, and lots of smelly fish stuff.
Do you ever go camping as a vacation?
I used to have a RV and would go camping frequently. Bluegrass festivals remind me of the days I used to camp with my family. When camping and attending bluegrass festivals, the atmosphere is similar. You meet and mingle with new folks, take nice walks, and cook out. I would rather be camping than staying in a hotel. I can even take my motorcycle with me!
Has anyone ever approached you in a rest stop or somewhere else and asked to see your rig?
Oh yes! We are approached all the time. People ask us who is on the bus and we tell them Charlie Pride or Led Zeppelin. When the shock sets in, we tell them we are kidding.
To learn more about Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, visit www.carolinaroadband.com.