Jordan Umbach is a Nashville-based recording artist and songwriter from Western Pennsylvania. His albums "Silhouette of Steel" and "Mercy," released in Pittsburgh when he was 18, were critically acclaimed by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and other music publications. He's received airplay on Froggy Radio in the tri-state area and is known for his infectious melodies, memorable choruses and unique voice. Critics have compared his early folk rock tunes to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Today, he writes country songs with an Americana twist and plays out weekly at several Nashville venues.
Jordan Umbach's Top Six
What makes Nashville special to you? This town has a rare creative energy. You meet people who are following their dream. The same people often want to support your own as well. There isn’t as much gossip here because too many people are chasing what they want in life.
Most under rated thing about Nashville? I’d say that it would be the neighborhoods. Tourists know of Broadway and they know of the Opry, yet many don’t realize the diversity that Nashville has. East Nashville has a cool left of center vibe with fun bars and restaurants. Germantown is a neighborhood that is awesome to walk around and grab a cup of coffee. It also has an incredible culinary scene. The neighborhoods are definitely unique.
Say you had a complete free day in Nashville… No work allowed… What would you do? I’d have to get some coffee at a local East Nashville shop. I may either go to the YMCA to lift weights or bike on the Shelby Greenway. Later in the day, I may go to a brewery with some friends. Fat bottom and Smith and Lentz are some really cool breweries in town. I’d also like to check out some live music… I am a big fan of hearing singer/songwriters at laid back places.
What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants? I’d say that my favorite restaurant would be Southern. My Dad and I head there every time he comes to town. They have really great oysters and their steaks are first class. Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen knows how to do pasta extremely well. It’s the best place to get take out in town.
How would you say your hometown of Pittsburgh, PA differs from Nashville? Nashville is a very transient city. You’re having people moving here every day from all over the country. Pittsburgh however, is generally a city full of Pittsburghers. My closest Pitt friends live close to many of their extended families members and aren’t itching to move. With that said, my friends like visiting Nashville as the culture is a little more care free here. Loyalty and legacy are words that come to mind when I think of Pittsburgh. Fun and creativity are words that comes to mind with Nashville.
If someone is coming to Nashville for the first time where would you take them? I’d say this depends on the person who is coming to town. If they are ready to party, it’s usually Broadway. Layla’s, Robert’s Western World and Tootsie’s are a good combination to me… If the person wants something laid back, I’d say that we would hit up East Nashville coffee bars and outside breweries. Ugly Mugs and Southern Grist come to mind.
One Thing About Nashville
How has Nashville influenced your music? I’ve grown to admire great country music. I feel like I have a bigger respect for performers, songwriters, and musicians than I did when I arrived. Nashville has brought more country elements into my music. It has also pushed me to constantly be better as a writer and singer.
Favorite Place to go for ice cream? Mike’s Ice Cream. A Nashville staple.
Do you have a favorite music venue? Yes, it would be the Listening Room Café. It was one of the first places that I visited with my mom when I moved to town. I love how they highlight the songwriters. You can have great food and drinks while hearing someone tell a story with a guitar.
Best Broadway Bar? Layla’s! It’s never overcrowded and always has great band.
Favorite museum? Country Music Hall of Fame. As a kid from Pittsburgh I learned a lot about the pioneers of country music. They do a good job of keeping their exhibits fresh and interactive.
Favorite Place for Breakfast in Nashville? My breakfast often only consists of the biggest coffee I can find. With that said, The Pancake Pantry is classic Nashville and awesome. I love some pancakes.