Jordan Umbach is a Nashville-based recording artist and songwriter from Western Pennsylvania.
His albums “Silhouette of Steel” and “Mercy,” released in Pittsburgh when he was 18, were critically acclaimed by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and other music publications. He’s received airplay on Froggy Radio in the tri-state area and is known for his infectious melodies, memorable choruses and unique voice. Critics have compared his early folk rock tunes to BobDylan, Bruce Springsteen and JohnMellencamp. Today, he writes country songs with an Americana twist and plays out weekly at several Nashville venues.
How would you describe your music?
I would say that my music is a cross between modern country and folk music. I like the catchy quality of country music and I also like stories that can lean a little more folky. With my new album “Hometown”, we wanted to merge the deep story songs with fun modern sounds and create a balance. I believe that music should make people want to dance… And also let people feel emotions that are below the surface. My favorite artists are ones that keep trying different things and merge sounds together.
What lead you to become a music artist and what advise can you give to others aspiring to make a hit?
I got a guitar at 13 and it just sat around for a year. It wasn’t until I heard the music of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen that I picked it up and started writing songs. Once I started writing songs, I became a bit obsessed with it. I felt as there was something that needed to pour out of me. My mom is a talented writer and she helped me hone my craft as well.
My advice for any young artist would be to take what you are good at and focus your attention on that. I believe that it’s better to be great at one thing rather than being good at “everything”. When I was younger, I – at times – used to worry too much about what my bandmates would do. I would encourage any artist to focus on the thing they truly love about music and have a lot of fun.
Who are your main musical influences?
Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, George Strait. This is a list of my top 5 favorite artists. I generally like country music, Rock and Roll and people that bend the two of them together…I’m am also a fan of blues and soul music. BB King and Bill Withers are legends that deserve to be mentioned as well.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I enjoy telling stories and playing my originals on stage. I love when the room gets quiet and I feel as though I’m truly connecting with people in the crowd. The feeling is great for the soul and makes me want to keep getting better at my craft… I love meeting people during shows and building relationships with venues.
What’s next for you?
I recorded an album called, “Hometown” with a talented producer named Daniel Dennis. The album took longer than we had ever imagined with Covid coming out of nowhere. The album is a collection of songs that I wrote over a 4 year period and I’m proud of the work we put into it. With the help of my producer, we created songs that felt like me… I am now writing and recording new songs. I believe that it’s important to get fresh songs and ideas to people. As Tom Petty said, “The future was wide open.”
What was the last TV series you watched on TV?
I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a TV series on TV. I’m tragically behind the times. I used to watch Seinfeld DVD’s over and over again. I still quote Seinfeld with friends and family… My favorite character is George. I’ll tell friends, “You’re like George Costanza!” They don’t often take that as a compliment.
What’s your least favorite personality trait you like about yourself?
I can over explain everything. Sometimes I have to give an unnecessary backstory to a simple answer. I can go on and on about things before I get to the point. I’ll try not to go on and on about my over explaining tendencies.
What is the most useless talent that you have?
I have the ability to connect any memory with the year that it happened. My family and friends will always ask me about what year something happened.
What makes you nostalgic?
Years. They go by quickly.
If you were a member of the spice girls… what would be your spice handle be?
Western Pennsylvania Spice… I’m originally from the Pittsburgh area and I currently live in Nashville TN.
If you were talking to a younger version of yourself… What would you say?
“People generally want you to be yourself. Take big swings with that in mind.”