Lorraine Jordan performs about 70 dates per year in national bluegrass venues, but there is no place like home in which to play. Home to her is Lorraine’s Coffee House, a former drugstore that has become her coffee, ice cream and music haven.
This fall she is rolling out the welcome mat to some of the community’s homegrown talent in a series of Saturday night concerts.
The Hall Sisters, who have performed from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry, open the hometown crew Sept. 3.
Clayton teenager Garrett Newton, fresh from his national television appearance on “The Joey Canyon Show,” brings his bluegrass band Sept. 23.
Longtime crooner Robert Starling makes a rare hometown appearance Oct. 1.
“My dream in opening the shop was to be a community gathering place,” said Jordan, who has been a professional musician for 33 years and was the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Female Vocalist of the Year in 2015.
“I wanted a place where a family could bring the kids, and grandma, hear some great music and get home at a decent hour. “
Lorraine’s has hosted some outstanding regional and national groups, including some of the most prominent bluegrass bands in the country. Those groups will continue to headline some nights, but going forward there will be more nights devoted to local talent.
“I’m excited to see some of our talented people take the stage,” Jordan said.
The Hall Sisters are a quartet of singers and musicians. They harken back to memories of girl groups like the McGuire Sisters, the Lennon Sisters and the Andrews Sisters, but the Halls also are outstanding musicians. They play piano, mandolin, viola, violin, cello and others and their musical numbers are in as much demand as their harmonies.
Their two 45-minute sets will include a wide range of Americana tunes.
Newton, a sophomore at Southside Christian School in Clayton, is an accomplished banjo player. He assembled his own band of older, more experienced musicians and is making a national splash.
“He is a young man with an old soul,” Jordan said in front of a wall with signed photos of friends and collaborators including Lynn Anderson, Dolly Parton, Lee Greenwood, Crystal Gayle and Eddy Raven. “Garrett plays the banjo in the old style.”
Newton said his television appearance was special, especially a limousine stocked with soft drinks and taking a flight on which the next seat was occupied by a dog.
“That was neat,” he said. “But to be here and make music in front of friends will be exciting.”
Starling was a regional star while he was still at Garner Senior High School. In fact, he started carrying his guitar to school to play at school-wide assemblies back when he was in Vandora Springs Elementary School.
He continued to play during college and was the house musician at “The Frog and Nightgown” nightclub before going to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a three-week gig that turned into decades of work.
The Hilton Head News called him one of the best guitarists in the country and the Myrtle Beach Sun News said, “just as good storytelling and better song writing than (Jimmy) Buffet.”
He plays regularly at The Living Room of the Umstead Hotel and Spa.
“I’m excited about the local concerts,” said Jordan, who’ll continue to bring her Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road to the coffeehouse on a regular basis. The band had two national bluegrass No. 1 songs in 2015.
Tim Stevens: firstname.lastname@example.org, @TimDStevens