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Jordan Herrera’s (aka Young Readers) is a story of pain, positivity, and perseverance. Only 29 years old at the time, Herrera began work on a new album in 2015 that filled him with hope and promise. A tide turned, however. Setbacks and delays on the album and an unexpected cancer diagnosis led to a three-year rockslide into darkness. The light eventually shone through, and in 2018, Herrera has found his way back on the path he set out on in the first place.
It all starts when Herrera spent two months living on a futon at Breathing Rhythm Studios in Norman, Oklahoma while he began recording the album. As soon as they finished in March 2015, he embarked on a 40-day tour swooping down the Southwest, up the Pacific Coast, and through the open air of Mountain Time before settling back home. This tour was urgent. He had roughly 30 days to spread the word and raise $8,000 to reach his Kickstarter goal, to pay for all the recording, vinyl and cd production and PR. After a taxing month of playing shows, skipping showers and sleeping in his car, he finally reached his goal. He raised $300 over his mark right as the last few hours of the campaign slipped away. Herrera says, “I felt untouchable. I had proof that people cared about me and my music and wanted to hear more of my story.”
But the only thing to see from the top of this achievement was that rockslide into darkness. He had hoped most of the album would be mixed by the time he made it back from his 40-day tour, but it was right where they left off. They still had time to deliver everything by the promised deadline, so he thought, “Cool, no sweat. I can still run off and do my 30 day Midwest tour and Steve will definitely be done by then.” Here is where life started to reveal its hand. Further delays at the mixing, mastering and pressing stages meant that he did not have the funds needed to complete the album, nor repay the faith of his many backers. After paying for two months of studio time, masters, vinyl and then giving Kickstarter their piece of the pie he didn’t have enough left to finish the project. He says, “I hit a slump, and after playing at the same bar in Austin every Sunday for five months straight I was completely burned out. Toast.” But every journey has its bumps along the way and undeterred, he returned home to Oklahoma and an old construction job, determined to save up the money that he needed. By late 2016 he had enough funds to pick up where he left off and finally finish this album.
Then came the hammer blow. In early 2017 Herrera discovered a tumor and was diagnosed with stage 1 testicular cancer. “After four months of doctor visits, three surgeries and seven chemotherapy treatments, I was a ghost of my former self, and had completely depleted everything I had saved for my past promises,” says Herrera. This was rock bottom.
But even in the darkest of places, your eyes will find a way to adjust, and Herrera persevered. He says, “I began to see again. I found my strength again. I found my spirit again.” Now fully recovered, he has managed to pick up the pieces, take strength from the support of his Kickstarter backers and finish what he started. That finished article is Migrator, an ethereal album of twilight tales which is a testament to Herrera’s songwriting, fighting spirit and determination not to let life get in the way of his grand plan.
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The album, Migrator, was written and recorded when Young Readers’ Jordan Herrera was experiencing a musical high where everything seemed to be going his way. Yet, there’s a rawness and subtle sorrow on the album foreshadowing the looming darkness that fell on his life for the next three years.
Performing songs from his latest 2012 EP, Family Trees, and his single/B-side released last May, the Daytrotter session shows Young Readers ability to tug at listeners' heartstrings with his emotional vocal performance.
Jonathan Aird, Americana UK
"Perseverance which brings this scratchy, lo-fi wonder; ‘Dancing‘ is a weary tribute to overcoming life’s turmoils and getting together with that person who really matters." [8/24/2018]
Top 20 Albums of the Year "I haven’t been floored as hard by an opening track all year as I was by 'All I Have.' Beautiful whisper-folk in the vein of old-school Iron and Wine."
"Jordan Herrera (better known as Young Readers) released his Family Trees EP after a college professor told him he wasn’t cut out for school. The creative DIY efforts of Herrera are undeniable considering that each EP sleeve was printed on construction paper and came with a box of crayons, urging us all to create our own album art." [5/21/2013]
"Jordan Herrera has created more immediately lovable music in 25 minutes than many bands make in a lifetime. Family Trees is a gorgeous, heartfelt EP that will command your ears and heart."[5/21/12]
Top 10 Local Albums of 2012 "When an album comes wrapped in a coloring sheet and packed with a set of crayons, you get an idea of where you’re headed. Family Trees is as gentle and polite as you expect, but it’s not childish — more trying to remember, a few years and a few heartbreaks later, what being a kid was like. Songs like 'Boxcar' are quaint, lovely and warm your heart like little else could."
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