Spotlighting Lorraine Jordan

Image634715422780992000Lorraine Jordan has been setting the stage and raising the bar of women in business and bluegrass ever since she started driving a school bus to pay her way through college.

Today Jordan is on top of the world with success of her latest album Back to My Roots, currently climbing the bluegrass charts, but she has even bigger goals in mind.

"I hope to be even more successful, as a business woman and a bluegrass performer in 2012," shares Jordan. "So from the time I crawl out of bed, until I get back into bed, I am in perpetual motion.  I never stop."

Jordan had no idea her part-time job would eventually lead her to opening Jordan Driving School in 1991 with only one car, one instructor and herself. “I was a North Carolina Drivers Education teacher and was actually named the North Carolina Teacher of the Year by my peers in 1996.

When the schools took Drivers Education out of the school systems, I opened a private company,” says Jordan. “I have opened two other driving schools; JDS of the Carolina's and Carolina Road Driving School. I currently employ 297 driving instructors, we have around 200 vehicles, 4 offices and 20 staff members,” explains Jordan. 

“Jordan Driving School teaches over 20,000 students each year in the state of North Carolina and Jordan Driving School is known nationally for the quality of instruction delivered,” quotes Chuck Lehning, Past-President of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.

Image634715423982546000(Left picture Lorraine at work in the early years at Jordan Driving School)

Just when you thought that was enough for Jordan to handle, she also owns a real estate property company, The Jordan Agency, Jordan Entertainment, which puts on concerts and festivals, and Jordan Online Driver Education, a program which allows students to do drivers education online.

President-elect of the North Carolina Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, Charles Lee explains, “I have been associated with Lorraine Jordan for over 15 years. I have found that Lorraine has a business sense about her that lets her lead her company every day with integrity and professionalism.” Jordan put her expertise to good use and authored a book called The Parent /Teen Driving Manuel that is used by more than 50,000 parents each year.  

As the front woman for Carolina Road, Jordan hits the road hard in her tour bus, averaging 60 bluegrass festivals annually, thus earning her title of "the hardest working woman in bluegrass" by her peers. Lorraine has also been crowned “Lady of Tradition” for her relentless dedication to presenting and promoting that traditional bluegrass sound.  Her latest effort, Back to My Roots, is resonating with bluegrass fans and critics alike, proof that her titles are well-deserved. 

"After 20 years of being a musician, 6 years as a side person in other bands and 12 years on the road full-time as band leader of Carolina Road, I am confident that I got it right this time! Carolina Road is Back to our Roots, right where we belong," Lorraine boasts.


Image634715424931836000(Right  picture Lorraine receiving key to the city of Garner, NC)

As a child, Lorraine wanted to do everything better than her older brother, who was an all-star athlete. She wanted to play ball, she wanted to ride her motorcycle, but most of all she wanted to play music. 

Her mother knew her tenacious daughter was destined for success.  Lorraine’s father was the executive director of a non-profit organization and her mother was a stay-at-home-mom; both of whom were very supportive of their daughter’s business and music career. Her dad was her biggest inspiration. 

Always the master of speech, he could talk to a farmer or he could talk to a lawyer, able to get along with everyone. “My grandmothers inspired me as well. I got a little of both of them in me. One had a big heart and wanted to take care of everyone with a smile and the other one was a business woman back in the early 1930's.  She was still on the top of her roof at the age of 86 fixing shingles. She was all work and no play.

Always had a goal set and once she finished that one she would move on to another one. If she was working, everybody was working,” recalls Jordan as she carries on the family tradition of hard work.  

Although Lorraine is known for her hard-driving mandolin chop and her fresh approach to the Monroe style, she started out on the other end of the music spectrum playing bass in a rock-n-roll band. That was only until the bluegrass bug bit her, and it’s been bluegrass ever since.  “My parents used to take me to Northern Virginia on Thursday nights to see the Seldom Scene at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia,” remembers Jordan. 

She thought John Duffey was a fantastic entertainer, and that led her to the mandolin and helped her develop her style of fronting her bluegrass band. “A bluegrass musician named Theodore Morris was my music mentor growing up.  He took me under his wing when I was a teen. He carried me to all his practice sessions and shows,” says Jordan.  

Now, Lorraine Jordan is enjoying the success of her latest album with Rural Rhythm Records, Back to My Roots.  She recently took over the annual Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival in Gatlinburg, TN and was the co-creator of the award-winning project, "Daughters of Bluegrass", which is a series of albums bringing together the best female pickers and singers in the genre.  Additionally, Lorraine hosted the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards in Ontario, and continues to host a weekly "Bluegrass Night" showcase at Hope Cafe in Raleigh, NC.  

A typical day in the life of Lorraine Jordan includes taking care of her dogs, two Maltese, and then she’s off to see about her businesses as she fields phone calls and plans shows. Jordan manages to find time to jam with her praise band one night a week and attend Sunday service at Garner United Methodist Church when she is not on the road. “At times I can be gone from home for a week doing what I enjoy best, and that is playing hard-driving bluegrass music with my band,”  Lorraine exclaims. Jordan spends the little time she does get off with her family, riding her motorcycle and playing with her beloved pets.  

“I find that her character is beyond reproach, her outlook is fresh, her work ethic is demanding, her standards are high and her principles are pure.  With Lorraine, we have the benefit of a complete package” says Connie Sessoms, Jr., Director of the Driver Education Department for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (CMS). 

This small town girl from North Carolina is using the tenacity and talent she gained through her Southern upbringing to conquer goals and surpass the expectations of others whether it be running a variety of successful businesses or fronting her world-renown Bluegrass band, Carolina Road, whose music is currently shooting up the national charts. It’s all in a day’s work for this “Lady of Tradition.”

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