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Jordan Sokel of Pressing Strings Redefines Dedication

Dec 29, 2016 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds

By Robyn Bell

Jordan Sokel has proven his dedication to music by working nonstop for the past seven years to better hone his craft. In addition to his self-titled solo project, Jordan also leads a band, Pressing Strings, that brings out a mixture of folk, rock, and blues. The drummer, Brandon Bartlett, and bassist, Nick Welker, have combined together with Jordan over the last few years to make their collective sound unforgettable.

Apart from raising a family and leading performances, Jordan is the sole author of over 100 originally penned songs and has released four full length albums. As the sole author of these songs Jordan has a unique, laid-back process of creation.

“I fool around, test the music first, get a concept of structure and after that I tend to sort of figure out a melody that goes over it and mumble words until the words form and then you have a song.” – Jordan Sokel

Ring in the New Year with Pressing Strings at Red Red Wine Bar on December 31st at 10:30 p.m. Cover charge is $10 starting at 10 p.m. and there will be a free champagne toast at midnight!


It seemed in the beginning you were primarily focused on original music and now your top hit is your cover of “Going to California”. How would you say your music has evolved over time?

The band has changed a few times in lineup which has a certain effect on how the sound has evolved. We’ve also been spending a little more time with our instruments and learning how to play them a little bit more has definitely added a more polished sound.

What are you hoping listeners take away from your music?

My hope is that people take away a good feeling, a feeling of mild euphoria. The idea is that no matter what could be going on when you listen to the music, you get a sense of warmth that is hard to find elsewhere. That’s really all I’m asking for.

What was your original inspiration to begin playing together and did you foresee the success you’ve had so far?

No, definitely didn’t foresee any success. The original drive to play developed because it was fun and that it was something I was inspired by. It’s hard to tell anything in music business; you just shut up and play. If people respond to it, they do and that’s great. If not, then that’s too bad.

How does the music scene in Annapolis and surrounding areas compare to other places you’ve performed?

I think the whole scene inspires us, trying to pick out individual bands would be a bit difficult. I do know we all work together and keep pushing each other.

I haven’t been to that many places, but it seems to me that Annapolis is a little more camaraderie cooperation between people. Musicians are always building each other up and not breaking each other down as I’ve seen and heard happening at other places.

Have there been any major defining moments thus far in your band’s career?

This last record “Most of Us” felt like a major defining step forward. We went up to New York City and recorded it with a few well-known people and famous places. Creating our own music with a couple successful producers really believing in it was a personal victory as well as a big moment for the band.

Outside of performing, what other activities do you enjoy?

Everything kind of revolves around music for me. Music, family, and friends are plenty to keep my hands full. I used to play sports, but I don’t anymore because I’m old. When you have kids there’s very little you have time for, for instance, the baby is strapped to my chest right now, and it’s kind of funny.

What process do you go through in order to write a song? How much of your personal experiences do you include in your music?

I fool around, test the music first, get a concept of structure and after that I tend to sort of figure out a melody that goes over it and mumble words until the words form and then you have a song. As far as my personal experience, it’s all personal, I tend to try and be a bit abstract. I take things as they are and I like to leave it up to the listener and see what they get out of it.

What’s next on the agenda for Pressing Strings?

Touring a good amount this year, plan to be getting to as many ears as possible, keep writing and keep being productive. We’d like to keep drawing the circle bigger and reach more ears which will be tough, but definitely worth it.