Labeled as a ‘Texas Troubadour’, the title is fitting for artist Jarrod Dickenson, whom I met up with at the recent Cambridge Folk Festival. I had the immense pleasure of seeing his stunning set while there as well. With his smooth, velvety voice coupled in the languorous and easy style he occupies, Jarrod comes across in the most unassuming yet talented way. He is liquid and thoughtful in his delivery and attentive in the details. Simply classic although innovative at the same time. Every song is a gem in and of itself. This is definitely an artist to fall for. As a fellow Texan, this artist makes me proud to call myself so.
Jarrod filled me in on his foundations in music, where that has led him and how he likes to play now as a Texan singing and playing his way while he wraps up this tour.
Jarrod Dickenson And His Journey Into Music
How did you find your way to music?
Oh Boy! I suppose it was my dad’s fault, he is an old hippie you see. So, I grew up with his old record collection: The Beatles, Paul Simon, Jim Croce, and all. I would spend hours just sifting through his records. Like any good Texan, I spent most of my time as a kid outdoors playing sport when I was young. When I turned eighteen though, I picked up a guitar and that just took over immediately. Life changed from then on.
Were you playing country music at that point?
When I started playing, I wanted to be a blues guitar player, like Stevie Ray Vaughn. I still wish I was like him! However, I quickly got side-tracked with songwriting and sort of went down that path.
Who did you find inspiration from or is there an artist that gives you a little bit more succor now than back then? Where did that lead you?
Yeah, well, all of those artists are still a big part of me now. It’s hard to listen to them and not be inspired. For me, artists like Muddy Waters, for example that get into your soul and stay, you know? But, I have certainly found other song writers that move me. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I left Texas that I found artists like Guy Clark. You know, that style of music he sings. I came from a rock n’ roll hippie background so country and folk music wasn’t what I was interested in initially.
Finding His Sound
How did you get to the Americana and the more country sound you now inhabit?
I wouldn’t even say I am country. That is what is so interesting. Here is the UK, it’s such an inclusive term, ‘country’. Back home it’s now called Americana. However, that style includes country, blues, folk and jazz, and all of those genres get lumped into the ‘country’ terminology. Country is a loose word these days that encompasses a lot. I also think that I am from Texas and have a big hat plays into it! (Laughs)
His Latest Album
How did your latest record, Under A Texas Sky come about? My fave is ‘Try Me’…
It’s something that I wanted to do for a while, to find a way to sort of pay tribute to fellow Texas artists. I wanted to pick a handful of tunes, a few from artists that everyone would know. Along with a few people may not. And, I wanted to show that Texas music was more than just country music. There is a great rock n’ roll scene, and jazz along with R n’ B that all comes from our home state. We wanted to demonstrate a little of all of that. ‘Try Me’ is my fave as well, it was such a fun one to figure out and perform.
What drives you to the old school, bluesy, country sound? Was there anything that really got you there or did you take a meandering route along the way?
What made the difference is just all the old influences really. I had a really great start. Like I said, I grew up with sort of the British rockers. However, I experienced all the blues like BB King and all that. From there, I found my way to the Allman Brothers. Then, I moved on to artists like Neil Young or Bob Dylan. All of these elements sort of mixed in the mind. I was left with story-telling along with blues sensibilities. Hopefully, it has sort evolved into something real from there.
What Lies Ahead for Jarrod Dickenson
What is ahead for you the rest of the year and in to 2020? Are you headed home soon?
Well, we return home on Tuesday. We have been over for here three months believe it or not. So, we pay rent in Nashville, not sure if that is home or not actually. We were in New York for a long time and we needed something cheaper, so we are down South again. A lot of us from New York moved down around the same time. Everyone seems to be moving there these days. There is a nice community of musicians and a lot of work to be done. That is the home base for now. Next, we have a few gigs in Nashville and then we are heading down to Texas actually.
We are doing a Dallas gig with Amy Helm, which we are really excited about. She definitely has got a lot of the soul of her daddy. Then, we are back over in the UK during the Autumn. It’s an acoustic tour we will be performing. It will be just myself and my wife, just crowded around one condenser mic. It will an acoustic arrangement of these tunes along with some new ones as well. Hopefully, we are getting into the studio again as I have a new batch of songs I am itching to go record. We are definitely anxious to get in the studio again. We hope to be back in by the end of the year, well, that is the plan anyway!
In the meantime, keep up with Jarrod Dickenson on Instagram here.
Be sure to follow Jarrod Dickenson on Facebook here too.
Photos courtesy of ©PremiumPhotographic Be sure to follow @Premium_Photographic for more photos from this and other festivals this summer.
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