Jordan Davis is a Shreveport-born, Nashville-weathered creative soul with his feet firmly planted in two different eras. The imagery in his songs relies on the same specificity behind such classic, lyrically- driven songwriters as John Prine, Jim Croce and Bob McDill. But the tech-tinged production and silvery phrasing in those same songs embodies the genre-defying musicality of such current acts as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Lady Antebellum.
Working steadily on his debut album for Universal Music Group Nashville, Davis is welding those two ideals nicely. The jangly, skittering “Singles You Up,” the picturesque come-on “So Do I” and the propulsive “Take It From Me” each mix those elements in varying degrees, some leaning heavier on the production, others focused more on the lyrics, but all of them held together by Davis’ unique, laidback phrasing. His easy-going nature and focused interpretation of the world around him is easy to identify in those songs, the same way that Jim Croce’s personality came through in some of the music that influenced him.
Writing and playing music was a passion that was passed down in the Davis household. His uncle, Stan Paul Davis, wrote two Top 5 titles for Tracy Lawrence in the 1990s – “Today’s Lonely Fool” and “Better Man, Better Off” – and his dad often wrote songs as a hobby between taking Jordan and his brother, Jacob, to Shreveport Captains minor league baseball games.
“Music was around so much, it was just part of our everyday life,” Jordan says.
In fact, because music was always around, Davis hadn’t really thought about it as a career possibility. He majored in resource conservation at LSU in Baton Rouge and thought he would pursue a job that would protect the world’s physical attributes.
But so was music. After his graduation from LSU, Jordan got an entry-level environmental job, but he spent plenty of time dreaming of Nashville, where his older brother had already moved to become a songwriter. Jordan periodically sent unfinished songs to his brother, and when Jacob played one for a music executive, he urged Jordan to come to Music City.
It was not an easy process for Jordan. He struggled to find people to write with and instead, he tended bar regularly at Ellendale’s – a Southern restaurant in Nashville’s Donelson neighborhood. He continued to hone his songwriting craft on his own; the songs were unusual, mixing his long-running affinity for classic singer/songwriters and modern country radio. Davis heard repeatedly that he was the only person who could perform them and make them work.