Country singer tries not to puke while releasing new live album

The day Lindsay Jordan’s debut EP came out, in February of 2019, she was at Studio 35 watching the movie “North by Northwest.”

“My cousin texted me, and she's like, ‘Hey, you're on Apple Music, and I'm listening to you on Apple Music' — while I was in the movie theater. And I threw up,” Jordan said recently by phone from her pandemic isolation spot in rural St. Paris, Ohio. “It hit me in that moment that [the EP] was online and on phones, and there's songs about my friends and me getting high with my friends and boys that broke my heart and all this stuff. And I freaked out and puked. … It's all fine and fun when you're in a warehouse with your friends, but whenever you're putting it on Spotify, and you're like, ‘Hey, come to my show because I wrote an EP and I'm putting it on the internet…’ it's another thing. That was the biggest hurdle.”

When Jordan, a photographer and show booker who was raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, moved to Columbus three years ago, she’d never been in a band. She didn’t even sing. But while drinking one night at the Rambling House with her newfound circle of friends, local musician Eric Nassau asked Jordan if she would sing a tune at the annual Townes Van Zandt tribute night he hosts at Dick’s Den.

“I didn't want to. I was really nervous. But he convinced me to do it, so I did. And after I got done singing a song about roadkill, these guys came up to me and asked me if I was interested in singing in a country band,” Jordan said. “Once I started doing that, everything really started clicking.”

Get news and entertainment delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter

In Columbus, Jordan has found a community of artists and musicians who have encouraged her every step of the way. “I never had that kind of camaraderie before from people — where you're completely surrounded by people that really believe in you,” she said.

In January, Jordan surrounded herself with all of those friends at a big birthday bash held at the Shrunken Head, where she performed with her alt-country band: guitarists Neil Unterbrink and Justin Kryszan, bassist Luke Schrader, drummer West Taylor and supporting vocalist Paige Vandiver. Shrunken Head sound engineer Nick Magoteaux recorded the show, and recently, while spending time away from friends due to Ohio’s stay-at-home order, she enlisted Taylor to mix and master the recording, which she’s releasing online today (Friday, April 24) as Live at the Shrunken Head.

Listening back to it now, it feels like a time capsule. “It's a super fun album, because it's this documented moment of everybody having a great time at a bar and at a show, and that's something that obviously we can't do right now. … That was only a couple of months ago, and it literally feels like it was five years ago,” she said. “I get a little emotional about it, honestly. That night was one of the best shows we've ever played. It was so much fun. All of my friends were there. My best friend surprised me from North Carolina. When we listened to the recording, I can pick out certain people cheering — those things that you really never thought you'd miss that you appreciate so much.

“We also don't have a clear end on when we're going to be allowed to do that again — hugging people and taking shots together and drinking and yelling and clapping and being in one room like that. I mean, what does that look like moving forward? It's not gonna look like what it looked like in January.”

While Jordan has made peace with the honest, irreverent, tell-all nature of songs like “Student Loans and Methadone” and “Slinging Wings and Smoking Weed” (“Nothing is a made-up story; it’s all true,” she said), she’s feeling newly nervous about releasing these one-take songs into the world.

“There's no editing. There's no filter. There's nothing to make me sound better. So for my second release, going from a produced thing to, 'Here's me and everything I say on stage…’” she said. "But I'm pretty prepared for this one. I'm more prepared than I was for the last one. I hope I keep from puking.”