Every once in a while, you’ll hear a song that grips you and makes you lean into the music a little more closely. Recently, that song for us was “Tumbleweed” by Jordan Suter.
In fact, it took less than two seconds for us to get totally invested in the Colorado native’s title track from his debut EP. The intro steel lick lured us in, perfectly married with a sentimental lyric of comfort and peace.
While the four tracks on Tumbleweed fall closer to a traditional country sound, Suter is preparing the release of “Pablo,” a southern-rocking tale of a friend’s night gone wrong that adds a new dimension to his sound and artistry.
We chatted with Jordan about his diverse influences, releasing music for the first time with Tumbleweed, what listeners can expect from “Pablo” and the sonic approach he took with it, his plans for the rest of the year and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Jordan Suter: I like to think I’m a hodgepodge of a lot of different influences, but I find myself always turning toward folks like Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen, Stoney Larue, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Blackberry Smoke. All of their stuff is out of this world. I try to draw from the fact that their songs elicit so much emotion, therefore I want to have songs that do the same.
When I write a song I think, “Would you be proud to sit across from (any one on the list above) and play this song start to finish?” and if the answer is “no,” then that piece of paper gets wadded up and tossed.
PC: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
JS: I knew I wanted to pursue a career in music after I had the opportunity to sing on a few demos for one of my friends a few years ago. It was the first time I had been in a proper studio, and I thought it was absolutely the coolest thing ever. That led to the decision to transition from playing and singing in my room by myself to playing and singing in front of folks for the first time since a middle school talent show. Getting a handful of cash after playing my first “paid” gig really changed the paradigm as well, because it was the first time I ever received ACTUAL compensation for performing (which is always nice).
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your Tumbleweed EP?
JS: Excitement. Terror. Anxiety. Elation; it’s a complex scenario putting out your first bundle of songs. It’s a dream come true, but it’s also very stressful. You’re really wearing your heart on your sleeve and saying “here I am at my most vulnerable, telling my story, singing, playing, God, I hope this doesn’t suck.”
PC: “Tumbleweed” serves as the lead track from its EP, and is quickly approaching 20,000 streams since its release. Why did you decide to make that the title track, and what do you think it is about that song that has allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has?
JS: I think “Tumbleweed” has resonated with those who have come across it because everyone has a “tumbleweed” in their life. Meaning: a place that they think of when they’re longing for a place or a feeling from their past where they felt peaceful and happy and where they created a bunch of memories.
I wanted “Tumbleweed” to be the title track of the EP because that song is an ode to a very important place in my life, and the life of the Suter family. I wanted the song and the EP to serve as a sort of “legacy” when the brick and mortar of the actual property has come and gone.
PC: Track three on Tumbleweed is a cover of Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil.” Can you talk about making the decision to include that song on your EP and the sonic approach you took to it?
JS: We wanted to showcase a wide variety of tunes with the first EP. While we were sitting (and drinking a few beers) discussing what songs should go on it, someone brought up that song and how great it is. One thing led to another and we decided to cut it.
I wanted to do it differently than the original version though because 1) I didn’t think I could do it as well in its original sad, slow state and 2) It has been covered in that manner several times and I just wanted to try something different. Some may say it’s sacrilege to crank up a classic country song, but I think it’s “artistic freedom.” To-may-toe/ to-mah-toe.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Tumbleweed after listening all the way through?
JS: I hope listeners’ heart rates drop a few beats per minute, their shoulders relax a little bit, they forget about whatever happens to be stressing them out, and that they spend ~4:00 minutes visiting wherever their “tumbleweed” is.
PC: You’re set to release your new single, “Pablo” on August 28, which tells the story of a friend’s wild night out and trouble with a drug dealer. What was it about the line he said “I’ve gone and done it this time, last night I went and lost my mind” that stuck with you and brought “Pablo” to life?
JS: I’ll just never forget hearing those words: “I’ve gone and done it this time, last night I went and lost my mind.” I just thought, “Of course you did. What now, dude?” Of course I didn’t say that out loud.
After hearing the rundown of the night, I thought “Jesus, this could be a movie, I wonder what song would play during the opening credits? I think it would sound a lot like this.”
PC: While Tumbleweed takes a more traditional country approach, “Pablo” taps much heavier into a southern rocking sound. Is it at all important for you to have that level of sonic diversity in your music and to tap into various influences in that way?
JS: Music is a reflection of the human condition, told through the lenses of different story tellers. I rarely feel identical day to day, so I think that’s why some of my tunes tend to be so diverse; they stay in the ‘book’ of country music, but each chapter is a different story. Some days you feel like kicking ass, and some days you’re a home sick puppy dog.
Some of my earliest memories associated with music are: listening to Johnny Horton while my brother and I played pool with my Dad, listening to The Carpenters while my Mom drove us to school, blaring Aerosmith and Run DMC’s version of “Walk This Way” as we drove to a family camping trip, and asking my Dad “so which one of these guys is Molly Hatchet?” as we went through his album collection when I was about 10 years old. All of that lends to the broad spectrum all of my songs find themselves sitting on.
I also think it’s important to be versatile and have a level of variety with songs. Diversity provides an opportunity to perform at a “songwriter night” where all you have is an acoustic guitar, while being able to go play a bar/honky tonk the next.
PC: According to Spotify, you’re listened to most in Australia, Prague and Canada. To what do you attribute that reach, and what is it like for you to see your music traveling the way it has?
JS: I honestly haven’t the slightest idea what to attribute the reach to, but it’s awesome and I’m over the moon about it. I find myself daydreaming of playing songs in Australia in February while it’s 2 degrees in Missouri quite a lot though, I can tell you that. So whatever lead to all of the listens travelling so far, I hope it continues.
PC: 2020 has altered many plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
JS: Of the (seemingly few things) I can control for the rest of the year, I plan on: constantly writing, keeping up the livestreams on the social media pages, rehearsing with the band so we’re ready to hit the ground running when life gets back to normal, and making sure that the people who listen and continue to tune in know how appreciated they are.
*Images courtesy Jordan Suter Facebook Page*
**Find Jordan’s music featured on The Best of Pro Country Playlist!*