Jordan Igoe Is The Real Deal

Nothing is better than great live music. Local singer-songwriter has a solid new album out, and shows she can recreate the music from that album beautifully at a couple of recent local performances.
I first saw Jordan Igoe perform a couple of years ago at one of the great music showcases the Charleston County Public Library puts on at its main branch downtown. I was struck by both her expressive voice, which reminds me a bit of Iris Dement's, as well as her equally impressive sense of songwriting. That afternoon at the library it was just Igoe and her guitar, and that was all that was required for that show, which was spotlighting local female singer-songwriters. 

Flash forward a couple of years to this year's Dig South Interactive Festival. One of the festival's musical offerings featured headliners The Lone Bellow with Igoe opening. For this performance, at the Charleston Music Hall, a few things had changed for Igoe since I last saw her. First, she was performing with a full band this time out, and Igoe had released a solo album, "How To Love," this past February. I was eager to see how her craft had advanced since that library show. Truth be told, Igoe has been writing and performing her own music seriously for the last decade or so, and the new album was just the latest step in what will hopefully be further success in the music business. Igoe gets help from an impressive list of local musicians on the new album, including singers Elise Testone and Jessica Daisi Igoe, guitarist Mackie Boles, drummer Marshall Hudson, bassist Brad Edwardson, and pedal steel player Charlie Thompson. Most of those musicians joined Igoe onstage at the Music Hall for her performance. 

While the Music Hall wasn't filled for that evening's show, the music fans that had shown up proved to be enthusiastic for both Igoe, as well as the headliners. Igoe's set proved to be dazzling. The artist ran through pretty much all of the new album, from slow burning yet intense tunes such as "I Was You" and "Rosetta" to more rocking selections such as "Paper May" and my personal favorite from the album, "Go To Hell." Among her excellent backup band, particularly notable were Boles, best known for his work in his own band The Royal Tinfoil, on lead guitar, as well as the lovely, lonesome sound of Charlie Thompson's pedal steel. 

After Igoe's superb set, the crowd was further wowed by Zach Williams, Kanene Donehey Pipkin, and Brian Elmquist, better known as the Brooklyn-based outfit The Lone Bellow. That trio took the energy created by Igoe's spirited set and elevated it with its mix of bluegrass, Americana and rock. It was a truly original night of music and the Charleston Music Hall and Dig South should both be commended for once again bringing some great musical acts to the annual interactive event. 

After being knocked out by Igoe's set at Dig South, I had yet another chance to see her perform this past weekend at Monster Music in West Ashley during the annual Record Store Day festivities. Set up on the tiny stage at the back of the store, Igoe proved that the Charleston Music Hall performance was no fluke, and more than a few of the folks digging through the shelves of vinyl and CDs paused from their shopping to take in a few of her songs. If the material on "How To Love" represents Jordan Igoe's current creative trajectory, then I for one can't wait to see where else that journey leads.