READY THE HORSES
Hard-working Troubadour Shows His Class On A Big Label Expedition.
I first saw and met Jarrod Dickenson in 2012 when he supported Bap Kennedy in a North London Pub. Without getting over-excited about ‘discovering the next big thing’ there really was something different and even special about Jarrod’s songs and their delivery that meant I actually introduced myself to him. He didn’t have any with him that evening; but when he returned home he sent me a copy of his debut album THE LONESOME TRAVELLOR which I favourably reviewed in Maverick magazine later that year.
A couple of years later he got back in touch to ask if I’d like a copy of his next EP, Songs From Willow Street; which can be found in the RMHQ Back Pages; and I still have the lovely handwritten note that accompanied it.
Jump forward to Christmas 2016 and Jarrod again got in touch to say he had a new Album coming out in the Spring and would send a copy ASAP.
Nothing arrived. Not the biggest surprise in the world as he is constantly touring or supporting all kinds of acts somewhere in the world; but I was still a touch disappointed.
Then a month or so ago a decent sized PR Company got in touch hailing Decca Records new signing…..Jarrod Dickenson who would be releasing an exciting new album in September!
So; I’m thrilled to say that after many years of hard graft; Jarrod Dickenson has hit the Big Time…..but has the music changed?
Hell Yes! It’s got bigger, brighter and better.
Opening track Faint of Heart finds the warmly toned Dickenson fronting a classy Country ensemble on a tearjerker of the finest proportions, and any worries that I had dissolved after less than a minute.
First and foremost a storyteller, Dickenson is a mighty fine songwriter too; honing in on the tiny things in our lives but painting extraordinarily cinematic pictures with his words too.
In The Meantime and Take It From Me are quintessential sad Jarrod Dickenson songs; but with the addition of ‘this band’ are taken into a whole new stratosphere; taking the listener on a beautiful journey along the way.
I’m a ‘fan’ and have seen the singer perform several times; but nothing prepared me for the beauteous intimacy of Your Heart, with it’s majestic guitar picking that accompanies his rich singing voice; but while originally from Willow Street; it’s now delightfully gussied up as a duet with his wife Claire; which gives it a lovely haunting quality too.
California treads a similar path; with the addition of some ghostly pedal-steel on the saddest of sad love songs……certainly one for late at night, as you can with the darkly bittersweet, fightin’, fussin’ and makin’ up Take It From Me too.
As you will know from the hundreds of reviews on RM I do like a good story; and that’s probably Dickenson’s finest strength; storytelling……which doesn’t get better than on the darkly Gothic tale Gold Rush; which has a David Olney quality and then some.
For the uninitiated and fans like me alike; there are pleasant surprises around every corner especially my favourite song here……the gentle Country song A Cowboy. One of the simpler arrangements on the album; but sometimes simplicity is the best way to get a story across and this story is absolutely bloody gorgeous.
For once the money that a record label has thrown at an artist appears to have been well; spent as band (guitar, gentle bass, tsch-tsch drums, pedal-steel and a swirling organ) actually flesh out Jarrod’s songs and stories in the most delightful manner.
Released September 29th 2017