Originally from Scotland, Jordan Harvey became best known to many UK country fans when he was part of the band King Calaway. Together, the group opened for Garth Brooks as well as performing on shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Kelly Clarkson Show and even Neighbours Now he’s striking out on his own with his debut solo EP, ‘It Is What It Is’, produced by Kevin Bard and Jason Massey and entirely co-written by Harvey himself.
The five-track EP kicks off with recent single ‘I Will’, which features a bright acoustic guitar intro and showcases the touch of gravel in Harvey’s vocals as he sings about how he’d treat his dream girl who’s being neglected by her boyfriend, before picking up into a big anthemic chorus. It’s the type of song that feels tailor-made for a crowd to sing along to (maybe at C2C?) and is irresistibly catchy, with some nice pop and rock touches alongside the country influences.
That sets the template for much of the rest of the set. ‘Along For The Ride’ shows off more country elements, teaming twangy guitar with punchy drums and showing off Harvey’s vocal tricks as he describes driving along with his girl with ‘hearts burning hotter than the gasoline’. Elsewhere, upbeat lead single ‘Alabama Girl’ brings a slice of Southern sunshine with its playful melody and a great sense of fun. It’s also packed with details, whether that’s references to the Silverado Harvey’s love interest drives or the cry of ‘Roll Tide’ as she (and he) cheers for her college football team. It’s always a nice touch to see that and I think it really brings you into the narrative of the song.
For me one of the standout tracks on the EP is ‘Overnight’. It feels like a slight departure in tone from the rest of the project, with its slower vibe and delicate guitar that Harvey half-raps, half-sings over in the style of some of Sam Hunt’s early songs. I also really liked the reflective feel of the ending of the song as he sings about regretting going back to his ex but doing it anyway, and was also seriously impressed by some of the high notes he hit on there!
The EP closes with ‘Thing About Change’, a sweet piano-led ballad which sees Harvey looking at how being in his relationship has made him slow down after he ‘saw the world through cowboy lenses’ (one of my favourite lines on the whole project). I thought this song really summed him up, with its hopeful heartfelt lyrics, soaring vocals that make you want to sway along with your phone light in the air, as well as some great guitar riffs towards the end. You really feel like you’ve been on a journey with him throughout the record and it’s the kind of song that leaves you wanting more.
Overall this is a really strong debut EP from Jordan Harvey. Over the five tracks, he’s showcased the variety of his musical influences as well as his skills as a songwriter and his infectious personality. There’s a really warm, open quality about his music that makes it very easy to connect with and I think he’s got great potential to be a big star. Here’s hoping there’ll be more music (and maybe some UK shows) in the very near future!
Track list: 1. I Will 2. Along For The Ride 3. Overnight 4. Alabama Girl 5. Thing About Change Record label: BBR Music Group/Broken Bow Records Release date: 20 January 2023