Jordan Igoe will play Awendaw Green Sept. 15, with upcoming performances with psych-folk group Susto’s Justin Osborne | Photos by Joseph Nienstedt

It’s hard to say what music first inspired soulful singer-songwriter Jordan Igoe, but it was her family that instilled in her the tendency to use instruments to process life.

She comes from a musical family — her mom loved to play pop and classical music on the piano, and her grandfather was a concert pianist. She started writing songs when she was about 15 — after watching her older sister Jessica Daisi play guitar and compose. Her first song was a therapeutic exercise called “Father Oh Father” that sprang from her efforts to journal her emotional journeys, including the one with her dad. Her initial musical inclinations like being in guitar club at school and leading worship at church have developed into artistic instincts 20 years in the making. 

A lot of the time her songwriting starts with a melody, and when she starts playing something she likes on the piano or guitar, the words will follow. Asked to describe her sound, Igoe told the City Paper, “There’s a little bit of blues and a lot of old country.”

Although she’s been surrounded by creative people both male and female, she does realize the gap that exists in the music industry for women performers. “I feel like a lot of women are more emotionally driven, and men are more ambition driven. With girls, you have to have a baseline — a certain amount of belief in yourself.” It all comes down to confidence. She thinks it’s been part of our culture and society for men to be more prevalent in music, but that it is changing. “I feel women are getting more and more independent.” 

Though she bills as Jordan Igoe, she had a core group of musicians that have stuck with her, first and foremost her sister, followed by pedal steel guitarist Charlie Thompson, guitarist Josh Roberts and bassist Corey Stephens.

The group has delved into co-writing original material, and though they haven’t stepped into the studio yet together, it’s on the horizon. Her tried-and-true spots are Wolfgang Zimmerman’s Rialto Row and Kenny McWilliam’s Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia. Her most recent EP, Sober and Sorry, is a hybrid of collaboration between working with Zimmerman and working with Paul Ebersold, based out of Nashville. 

Her songs are usually derived from stories she hears. “One of my songs is even based off my obsession with murder documentaries. Some of them are fictional, and a lot of them are probably cathartic. There’s a lot of analogies going on and references to other people and perspectives from other people. It’s not just a one-person perspective.” 

At her Sept. 15 show at Awendaw Green, the crowd can expect to hear tracks from her first album How to Love and from 2019’s Sober and Sorry. Also keep an ear to the ground for her upcoming full band and duo gigs with Susto’s Justin Osborne. 

With Rialto Row recording sessions in her near future, she’s currently reworking some older stuff while also putting together new material, which is more folksy and dancey than the straight-ahead country rock ballads she’s known for. 

For Igoe, her sonic evolution has come not only from working with others, but because it is inevitable. “I’ve read a lot of research on songwriters and composers, and the way that their writing shifts through a lifetime is all similar even though they are from drastically different genres of music. They start more intricate and then they get more straightforward and poppy, but more pointed with lyricism and with chords.”

As a self-described “curmudgeon grandma” when it comes to music taste, Igoe is most heavily influenced by indie rocker David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, pop rocker Fiona Apple and, more recently, Lady Gaga’s Joanne

While she doesn’t know if there’s a lesson from the pandemic, she can see the silver lining. “I feel like we were already having an issue with communication and feel like that has gotten weirder. It’s a very strange, alien-type vibe that I get from society. It’s like everyone is in their own world. I think it got exacerbated by everyone having to self-isolate and rely so heavily on technology to communicate with one another.”

Yet Igoe still holds hope that this time of transition will lead to a space we can all settle into again. 

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