When Jordan Whitmore needed solace in the midst of loss, God met her as she wrote down and sang His promises. An accomplished singer-songwriter, Whitmore knew what she was creating was something new, something different from the Americana folk she'd previously made.
That new thing bears the name EUFAULA
, and with it, Whitmore taps into the emotional storehouse of the Psalms, proclaiming faith in the midst of the last season's hardships. With new project Between the Hills
, she has introduced a unique sound that sticks out in an ever-crowded worship music landscape.
I interviewed Whitmore about the origins of this new project, the circumstances, and inspirations that brought out this new side of her creativity.
EUFAULA isn't your name, obviously, Jordan. Where did this name come from, and why'd you choose it for this new side project?
EUFAULA is actually my middle name! I was named after my great, great grandmother. I chose it for this project because I wanted to give this new music its own identity, and rather than coming up with a name, I thought why not just use my middle name? It seemed appropriate and I also figured it wouldn't be taken.
You've been writing music a long time. Talk about your musical history.
I grew up listening to a wide range of music and being quizzed by my Dad about who was on the radio. I always loved singing, but what really intrigued me was writing. When I was 14, I begged my parents to let me get a guitar and take guitar lessons. I wrote some really bad songs in high school but didn't start to really write until I started playing the piano in college. And because I love lots of different music, my style has evolved over time.
Your solo stuff as Jordan Whitmore is a bit more on the country/Americana/folk side, while this is more worship-based singer-songwriter style. What are some other differences between your two projects?
I would say the biggest difference is the seasons of life that they were written from. With my last record, Other Side
, I was writing mostly from a place of tension, of literally wanting to get to the other side of something. It was an honest telling of the human experience, and that was really my goal.
With the EUFAULA record, I was coming from a place of grief, which was very new for me. For the first time in my life, I was truly desperate for God, and had no other choice but to rely on His promises. So I began to put some of those to music and that process filled me with hope. So that's what this project is about: finding hope by remembering who God is and what He's promised.
This EUFAULA album is inspired by the Psalms. How did you go about creating this record? Had you written the songs before, or did you hit the scriptures looking to be inspired?
I definitely hit the scriptures. To be honest, I was inspired by Sandra McCracken's Psalms record. My friend gave it to me when I had endured a great loss and I found much comfort in hearing the words that were so familiar to me put to melody. I've always loved the Psalms and that record inspired me to try to write from them. So, it started as an exercise. I wrote several from the Psalms and then it took off from there. About half of the record is inspired by specific Psalms, and the rest came from studying and meditating on other passages of scripture.
What about the Psalms is particularly compelling to you as a songwriter? As a believer?
The honesty and raw emotion draw me into the Psalms. They are as authentic as you can get, yet they don't end there. There is a resolve, a "yet I will praise you" that pours from a heart that knows who God is and trusts in Him. They prove that doubts and questions and even sadness are OK, but they also reveal that affirming what is true is necessary. There is power in speaking what is true about God and your identity in Him in the midst of whatever you're facing.
What are some new things you learned about yourself as an artist in this process?
That I could write a worship record! Though I had a desire to do a project for the Church someday tucked away, I had no plans of doing that anytime soon. God had other plans, obviously.
What are some other things that are inspiring you creatively and spiritually?
I'm really loving Emily P. Freeman's podcast, The Next Right Thing
. Sara Groves' Abide With Me
record is lovely, and The Working Songwriter
podcast by Joe Pug is super interesting. I always get inspired by listening to full records on road trips or long drives and my husband and I recently listened to the new Killers record. I'm a fan! The title track, "Wonderful, Wonderful," is so good. Listening to and studying other creatives gets the wheels spinning.
Are you planning to tour this record? How does that work with your other music?
I don't have any plans yet, but I'm open to that. I'd love the opportunity to get to share these songs and sing them live. The house shows I've done recently have been really sweet, so maybe more of those! For now, I plan to put some of them in the mix at my church where I lead worship.
How can people be praying for you?
I would love it if people would pray for this record, that it would reach those it needs to reach and give hope to those who need it.