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Erin Jordan: Press

Self described as a "hobo cabaret," The Whiskey Romance creates an atmosphere somewhere between a gin joint and a jug-band hoedown with their crowd participation mandatory shows and lively performances. Vocalist Erin Jordan channels Pink Martini's China Forbes and commands her soaring vibrato over the band's collection of upright bass and cantina style piano, convincingly enough that you might look around to double-check that you're still in Seattle.
Raechel Sims - The Seattle Weekly (Nov 14, 2008)
Erin Jordan writes with a dark and droll pen, sings in a flapper floozy / jazz moll mode, and wields a trio of instruments (piano, guitar, accordian), but what really intrigued me about this release is the inclusion of an oboeist (Jeremy Butkovitch) as an integral band member rather than sessioneer. The oboe, like the bassoon, is a sadly overlooked instrument save for show applications, and Butkovitch's presence lends an inseparable caberatic mood that then swings into gypsy wildlands every time a violin capers in to spark things up, as in the darkly humorous Jane, musical equivalent of 50s edu-films on venereal diseases meant to scare the bejeezus out of school children who might be contemplating straying from the claustrophobic Christian path of righteousness, continence, and abstinence.

The entirety of Gateway to Temptation is like the soundtrack to a high camp retro-flick of social indoctrination, witty and thematic while taking broad shots at the human animal and its unceasing penchant for delusion and self-abuse. Jordan obviously is a cynic and joins a palette of such artists as David E. Williams, Dudley Saunders (here), John Cale, and others who take the existentialist's role in a kind of stand-up capacity, executing duty with a sharp knife tempered in rapier satire.

The music itself is, as said, cabaretic rock with jazz and show inflections, a kind demented progression from the old Ian Whitcomb, New Vaudeville Six, Stackridge, and other sounds of the 60s and 70s. However, Jordan's acid tongue and fangs cleave closer in sentiment to Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson but without the modernist/futurist sturm und drang, even reaching back to Kurt Weill. In other words, this is a disc for specialized, eclectic, and refined tastes

My only criticism would be for an engineering job that doesn't really open up the atmosphere this group deserves. It's not a bad documentation, but the Jordan and confreres deserve better. This is a CD with antecedents that need special handling, and the form is rare, meriting every iota of embellishment and room it can be given.
"Gateway to Temptation" is the first release by Seattle quartet (Erin Jordan and) The Whiskey Romance. It's a wonderful and delectable debut.

The music here has a bad part-of-town/other-side-of-the-tracks (and on "Porque Tu No Me Amas", south-of-the-border) feel that evokes what the Doors called "the darkness on the edge of town"... it reminds you that there are disturbed places near where you live, places that are haunted by the living. One of these places is a bar where Erin Jordan and her crew are the featured entertainment. It's a dive, a place where the drinks come easy and the broken hearts easier. A place where any lost soul might wander in, a place where the band sounds like it stumbled over from the cabaret down the street after they got kicked out for playing Patsy Cline songs.

It's easy to peg the basis for the pieces on "Gateway..." as roots music. But who's roots? None of us are old enough to remember a time when cabaret was popular or when country wasn't. But the key here is not the roots, it's the result. EJ & the WR tap into something timeless: we'll always be looking for love and, when that's lost, for solace. When you're broken you can drink yourself into oblivion or dance the night away with a tempting stranger. "Gateway to Temptation" is the soundtrack for both.

It follows that the sound on this disc is sexy, sultry and (frequently) sleazy. We say the damnedest things when our hearts are on our sleeves (or when we're three sheets to the wind). Luckily Erin's voice is perfect for this, by turns heartbreaking and coquettish, needy and vengeful.

The band's secret weapon is Jeremy Butkovich's oboe. Not only is it an amazing counterpoint to Jordan's vocals it provides a chain that runs through the songs that makes them otherworldly. This band isn't from around these parts, and the oboe makes you think that they may not be from this side of the dream veil.

This is a remarkable collection that I highly recommend. Honestly I don't know how you can get through the one-two punch of the opening song ("Black Widows" and "Jane") and not be seduced.

Here's to seduction! Cheers.
- Sepiachord (Nov 26, 2008)
(Review for Land of Milk and Honey)

The title of the first song on Erin Jordan's CD is "Road to Eureka". Eureka is a lovely hippy town in California. That first song's title would have been an apt title for the entire CD.

Let me paint a picture for you. You are navigatiog the roads on this CD in a VW van with mysterious smoke wafting out the side windows. Your dented and stained Kerouac book is on the dash. You are wearing a bandana and listening to music with lots of acoustic guitars and feverishly writing poetry in your journal when you stop of gas. You are camping on the beach and looking at the stars.

These songs impressed me as largely about leaving the familiar and taking a chance on exploration and discovery. They are also about the strange things, good and bad, that you find on such a voyage. They are sung in Jordan's airy high voice and supported by good players who know how to stay in the back ground. The downside for me was the times, as on the fourth track, when I wish the guitarists would have taken one more pass at the tuner, and Erin would have made one more pass on her vocals to stay in tighter pitch.

Fans of roots folk will appreciate these story songs and heartfelt writing.
Miteymouse - South of Mainstream (Jun 1, 2004)
Her high trilling voice bearing traces of classical training, her soft-rocking, lyric-driven songs betraying a fascination with Ani Di Franco, Erin Jordan turns in a very solid first album. The tunes on Land of Milk and Honey, traveling songs all, tell the story of Jordan's first tour out west. The darker songs here are the best -- the broodingly rocking "Road to Eureka", the violin-burnished "Too Wide", the simple but lovely traditionalism of "You Want a Girl". On more upbeat cuts, like "California Dreamin'" and "Fire Escape", Jordan's voice sounds a little too thin and breathy to make an impact. Still, there's intelligence, heart and skill at work on this debut, indicating that Erin Jordan has plenty of room to grow.

-- Jennifer Kelly