Chattanooga native Leslie Jordan marks an item off his bucket list with release of gospel album

Platoon / Chattanooga native Leslie Jordan has an album of gospel duets, "Company's Comin'," due out April 2 and a book, "How Y'all Doing?," coming April 27.
Platoon / Chattanooga native Leslie Jordan has an album of gospel duets, "Company's Comin'," due out April 2 and a book, "How Y'all Doing?," coming April 27.

Leslie Jordan's got company coming on Friday - and it's a pretty impressive list of guests.

"Company's Comin'" is the Chattanooga native's new album of old-time gospel favorites sung in duets with a musical who's who of celebrities such as Chris and Morgane Stapleton, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker, Eddie Vedder, TJ Osborne of the Brothers Osborne and Dolly Parton. The album is the direct result of his popular "Sunday Morning Hymn Singing" on Instagram.

Jordan, 65, is one of few actors who can claim his career thrived during the past year's pandemic quarantine. Last spring, the film and TV comedian began posting to Instagram brief behind-the-scenes reminiscences about his Hollywood life and humorous thoughts of the day to battle boredom while stuck at home. But soon his daily posts had a following of more than 5 million "fellow hunker-downers" who were entertained by his wit and wisdom. As part of this, Jordan began "Sunday Morning Hymn Singing," which were impromptu gospel singings accompanied by Travis Howard, doing songs Jordan grew up singing in the former Woodmore Central Baptist Church in Chattanooga.

They were an instant hit with viewers. Baby boomers told him the songs took them back to their childhoods; other viewers commented the hymns were favorite songs of loved ones who had passed away or were songs that had been sung at occasions that were treasured memories now.

"My dear friend Travis and I would get together on Sundays and sing these old hymns just because we loved them. People kept saying, 'You need to make an album,'" Jordan said in a phone interview. So he did.

"Company's Comin'" is co-produced by Howard and Danny Myrick, both with extensive Nashville credits to their names. Howard has worked with Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley; Myrick with Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean. The album's executive producer is Michael Lotus.

Jordan says Howard composed a list of songs and duet partners and then approached the singers. To Jordan's knowledge, only Kacey Musgraves turned down the offer to sing and that was due to a scheduling conflict.

The singers are accompanied by a crew of some of Nashville's finest studio musicians. Its 10 tracks include "This Little Light of Mine," "The Sweet By-and-By," "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" and "The Longest Day," an original written by Howard, who is also Jordan's duet partner on the song.

The hymn arrangements combine classic country, hand-clapping gospel, vintage soul and Americana/roots styles. In his book to be released on Mother's Day, Jordan talks about being descended from a long line of hymn singers. Those who have watched his "Sunday Morning Hymn Singing" know he hasn't got a trained voice, but he can carry a tune and make a joyful noise. This album is infused with that same powerful exuberance and enthusiasm for the beloved hymns that he displays in the Instagram posts.

photo Platoon / Leslie Jordan's "Company's Comin'."

One month ago, the first track, "Angel Band" with Brandi Carlile, was released on social media. Two weeks ago, a second teaser was released for "Farther Along" with Chris and Morgane Stapleton. Viewer comments for both have been positive.

"I didn't know either of them before this. Now I talk to Chris and Morgane on the phone a lot. They are such good people," he says.

As the album was taking shape, Jordan was on a trip to Hawaii, where he met Eddie Vedder. Yes, that Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.

"We went out on a boat and I told him I was doing this and he offered to sing on it," exclaims Jordan, excitement still sounding in his voice over the phone. "It's 'The One Who Hideth Me,' written by Danny and Travis in the spirit of those old hymns."

At the top of Jordan's wish list of singers was Dolly Parton, who originally agreed to sing with Jordan on a song of her choice, "It Is Well With My Soul." But Howard asked if she would agree to "Where the Soul Never Dies," which she was happy to do since she said she grew up singing that hymn in her church. Charlie Worsham plays mandolin on the track.

As the idea of the album took shape, Jordan says he envisioned being able to be in the same studio with his singing heroes to record. But of course that became impossible due to the pandemic, so Jordan recorded his tracks then they were sent to the celebrities to add their vocals. Only with Parton was Jordan in the same studio with a duet partner. He says multiple COVID safety precautions were put in place to protect the legendary singer,

"I must have been tested almost 10 times leading up to singing with Dolly," he drawled, "but they had to do everything they could to protect her. She's a legend, a national treasure."

Another result of "Sunday Morning Hymn Singing" has been the launch of "Hunker Down Radio" with Jordan and Howard on Apple Music Country airwaves. Platoon, the label for "Company's Comin'," is Apple's record label.

"Travis called and said Apple wanted us to do this show. I asked, 'Is that a lot of work?'" Jordan recalls. "We get together and pick out 10 songs we want to play. We sit in Travis' studio and turn the mic on and then we just talk - and it's put into an hour radio show."

The weekly show debuted Feb. 28 and airs on Sundays. Find purchase information for the album at

Email Susan Pierce at

photo Contributed Photo from DRL/LeClair Talent Management / Leslie Jordan

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