DERRIK JORDAN RELEASES NEW CD, "TOUCH THE EARTH" BRATTLEBORO, VT -
Derrik Jordan has been composing songs for a very long time, many of which reflect his deep concern for the environment. His brand new CD "Touch The Earth" is a rare document that can be heard both as a concept album and a career retrospective. "I have been writing songs since 1970 and one of my major themes has been nature and environmentalism," explained the Putney resident. "I thought it might be a good idea to include the best ones on a CD." Area music fans will recognize songs such as the sprightly soul/funk "Love To Spare," the reggae-tinged "Killing The Country," and the rhythmic title track from two of Jordan's former bands, the popular Spunk and Cayenne, groups that, in their heyday, had folks dancing up a storm at The Common Ground.
The organic collection took more than a year to grow to fruition. Originally, Jordan envisioned a record where he played all of the parts, a la one of his musical inspirations, Stevie Wonder. But as the project progressed, Jordan's vision expanded. "I kept wanting to hear things that I couldn't play, like horns and didgeridoo. So I created arrangements that incorporated these elements and invited my friends (such as T-Bone Wolk, Johnny Yuma, Sean McLoughlin, Nebulai, and The Mighty Simba Horns) to join in." The versatile Jordan added vocals, violin, bass, flute, mandolin, djembe, steel pan and more than 20 other instruments.
At a recent performance at the Brattleboro Commons, Jordan and his Sundog Revolutionary Orchestra (actually Dan DeWalt on trombone, accordion, steel drum, keyboards and bass along with Johnny Yuma on drums), performed with dexterity and exuberance both old and new originals that had feet tapping and hips shaking. "Touch The Earth" (available through www.derrikjordan.com) deftly blends '70s style soul with flourishes of world beat -afro-pop, calypso-soca, samba, along with some infectious all-American funk. Lyrically, Jordan takes the high road, devoting his prayer-like anthems to his concerns about the degradation of environment.
Some of the new compositions were directly inspired by Jordan's interactions with Chief Phil Crazybull, a full blood Lakota medicine man who has recently been elected to be the international chief of his people. "I had the very good fortune to meet him and work with him here in Putney where I am part of a traditional sweat lodge. I had the opportunity to do hanbleca with him, which is the ancient Lakota vision quest. It is a powerful ceremony where after some preparation you go out in the woods by yourself for four days and four nights without food or water ... You get a lot of time to think about your life and about what's important and not so important to you." Two songs on the CD, "Indigenous" and "Standing Prayer" come directly out of Jordan's vision quest experience. The Bennington Middle School chorus performed "Standing Prayer" as part of its spring concert. "They did a very enthusiastic job of it, too," Jordan said. "It seems to be getting a really strong response from people who hear it. I can't say that I understand why that is really, except that maybe it's just a song of the moment, something that people are already feeling inside themselves but can't put into words. It's a song about longing to be connected to all life on earth."
The part-time music teacher, record producer and political activist has a number of future projects in development. "I've got literally seven CD's planned. I've almost finished with one that features my electric violin playing with some great local musicians in improvisational duet settings. This winter I'll be working on a double CD of my best Brazilian flavored compositions, 23 sambas and bossa novas," he said. Somehow, Jordan finds the time to play improvisational, indigenous music with Natural History, as well as with area newgrass mainstays The Stockwell Brothers, a wedding band, the horn-fueled Simba, as well as the aforementioned Sundog Revolutionary Orchestra, who will be backing Jordan at his CD release party Friday night at The Loft in Brattleboro. The tireless singer added, "Did I mention that I'm married and have three kids?"