Rearview Mirror Spotlight: Jordan Wilburn

Jordan Wilburn

Watch this boy—he’s taking after his dad, and he is good. Hat tips to Diana for posting links from this concert and Daniel for showcasing a couple of the videos.

My favorite performance, hands-down, after surveying the videos, would have to be Jordan’s take on “When God Ran.” Hustle over and give it a watch if you haven’t already. The song is originally a Phillips, Craig & Dean number, covered in SG by the Kingsmen. However, I have to say that Jordan’s rendition is, by a margin, my favorite. (He first recorded it as one in a series of studio demos. You can hear that version here, but he does it even better live.) Jordan is a real natural, and his tone is pure, very clear and easy to listen to. As I said on Daniel’s blog, the texture of his voice recalls CCM group 4Him’s Mark Harris (except a little cleaner to my ears). He also sounds much older than his slim 24 years. He throws in a powerful high note on the final “He called me son” that sets it apart from any other version I’ve heard. I wouldn’t officially classify him as a tenor, but he definitely has a flexible range. Listening to Jordan reminds me of one reason why I switched from CCM to SG: There’s so much good vocal talent out there, some of which I’m still in the process of discovering. I would put Jordan up against any CCM singer his age right now.

Jordan has a gentle touch on a ballad, but he can get things cookin’ on a fast number too, as he demonstrates on the classic Gaither Vocal Band toe-tapper “Temporary Home.” Here we see him slide smoothly into a country groove. Apparently he has also inherited his dad’s charisma with an audience:

The prominent background vocals give one a rough idea of what the Wilburns might sound like with a couple other singers in a quartet. I said on Daniel’s blog that I foresee them growing into a three or possibly a four-man group, and I think this would be fantastic. So far, the only advantage that the originals of some of these songs have over their covers is the extra vocal punch. If Wilburn & Wilburn made the right pick(s), they would establish a fuller signature sound and give the originals an even stronger run for their money. However, for the moment they seem content to work simply as a father and son duo. I look forward to seeing what they bring to the table.

Update: If you wonder what a Crabb family song might sound like minus the extra noise and throaty singing, try this. I actually find Jordan’s take on this easier to listen to than the original, though definitely not without punch! He goes pretty high here, and he’s perfectly on pitch. It’s impressive to see him turn out performances of this caliber completely live and on the spot.


3 thoughts on “Rearview Mirror Spotlight: Jordan Wilburn

  1. Actually, I imagine you know this, but if we’re going to be precisely accurate, “When God Ran” was originally introduced by Benny Hester, and PC&D brought it back some 20 years later.

    Also, Bryan Hutson doesn’t go to that note on the studio version (I think), but live, he actually does – his vocal run there is “My God called me son…”

    1. I hadn’t heard of Benny Hester. That’s interesting.

      I did find a live performance by the Kingsmen, but Bryan didn’t go for that note there. It was from NQC. He may do it differently different times.

    2. Ah, I figured it out. The difference is that the Kingsmen change key, while the Wilburns don’t. This means that while the note Bryan hits may actually be as high as the one Jordan hits, it is lower relative to the key in which it’s being sung. Jordan’s twist is still unique.

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