Jordan Herrera loves music so much, he hardly can step away from it, even for a moment. Always listening, of course, but always playing, too.
Months ago at Norman Music Festival, Herrera played with four different bands (Chrome Pony, The Gentle Art of Floating, Good Morning Grizzly and The Nghiems) in three days, and that didn’t even include a performance by his own solo project, Young Readers.
“I used to go crazy if I went a month without playing a show,” he said. “Now, with the balance, I still don’t understand why I’m not able to play at least once a week. I like to think I’m playing music at a professional level, even though it never pays like it.”
Young Readers gives the Oklahoma native the opportunity to play as much as he wants, whenever he wants. While others help flesh out the songs on occasion, it’s mostly just Herrera: his quaint, but commanding voice and his simple, lovely acoustic guitar. It’s a stark departure from his more animated performances with other bands.
“There is definitely a different energy,” Herrera said. “I get to dance the night away playing with Chrome Pony; I leave bruises on my hips from playing a little too rough with Good Morning Grizzly; and with Young Readers, I’m able to sink into the sustain of a slowly picked guitar.”
Despite starting as nothing more than a humble side project, Herrera has found just as much success as those other acts.
“Doing it alone makes the successes that much more unreal,” he said. “At the start, it was just me recording these songs in my bedroom. The fact that the EP (Family Trees, downloadable for free at youngreaders.bandcamp.com) has been reviewed in other countries blows my mind. I’m just as surprised as the next person.”
The music itself is of note, but so, too, is the album’s packaging: a coloring sheet and word search that includes a box of crayons.
“I’ve always wanted to do something interactive,” Herrera said. “I think the honesty and lightheartedness of the songs are almost reflective of someone who would enjoy coloring a bear and a hippo with only four crayons. It’s been a gift to watch the stages of everyone’s excitement grow.”
Currently on tour as Young Readers, Herrera has chalked up a full-length debut for next spring.
“If I had it my way, I would be on the road year-round,” is said. “I love to travel and I love the adventure of new places and people. Hopefully, this let’s me do that.”