Moving to the Music

At home in Garner, Lorraine Jordan enjoys riding her Honda motorcycle, playing with her two Maltese pups, and watching Panthers football.

But on the road, she’s a bluegrass-and-mandolin dynamo.

Jordan and her band, Carolina Road, hit the No. 1 spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey not long ago, with the title song to their latest album, Back to My Roots.

Jordan says she was considering retirement from her traveling music career, until that moment.

“It’s spectacular! To have that number one song means your song is best of all,” she said. “How can I walk away from the fans?”

“Back to My Roots”reflects on simpler times in life. The song’s video features people and places from Jordan’s coastal hometown of Vanceboro, N.C., and from Raleigh and Garner, her home since 1984.

Scenes even include her parents, Royce and Janice Jordan. (Watch the video at

The album also marks a return by the band to Jordan’s roots of traditional bluegrass music; her commitment to the sound has earned her the title of “Lady of Tradition.” 

“The difference with Carolina Road is it’s my band,” she said. “I like being the leader, knowing what music I want to do. It’s traditional, but with a fresh approach. When you hear Carolina Road, you’re gonna hear legendary standards, and fiddle, and banjo. I want to keep it going, and make a mark.”

A full-time performer for 20-plus years, Jordan is renowned for her mandolin chop. She explains:

“It’s the offbeat, the snare drum of bluegrass,” she said. “It’s exactly the opposite of the bass. It plays a very important role; without the chop you don’t have the drive of the music.” 

Known as one of the hardest working bands in bluegrass, Carolina Road performs in about 60 festivals each year, and even travels internationally.

Locally, Carolina Road plays regularly at Tir Na Nog in downtown Raleigh, as its travel schedule allows. Jordan also plays with her Christian rock group, Jordan River Band, at Garner United Methodist and other area churches.

“I have a love for music. It’s in my blood,” Jordan said. “It’s fulfilling, and I want to give back to the people who appreciate it.”

Learn more at

Event note:The 10th annual Garner Storytelling Festival will be held this Saturday, Feb. 23, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at North Garner Middle School, located at 720 Powell Drive in Garner.

The free family festival features acclaimed state and national professional storyteller Donna Washington; regional storyteller Hawk Hurst; local storyteller Chuck Killian; and more than 60 Garner-area students.

Also offered are free literacy instruction workshops for educators, offering Wake County Public Schools’ renewal credits.

For more information, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *