Texas-born, Brooklyn resident, Jarrod Dickenson has a blend of soulful Americana reminiscent of Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, or Tom Waits.
Having built his reputation as a songwriter, recent years have seen him highly praised in the UK. Chris Hawkins of BBC Radio 6 described Jarrod as “Storytelling with Soul”.
We spoke with Jarrod ahead of his show at The Cluny and the release of his new album ‘Ready the horses’.
- Let’s start with the album, how’s it sounding?
Ha, well if you ask me, I’d say it sounds brilliant and a piece of rock and roll history. No, in all seriousness, we’re really proud of it. We made it in Eastbourne with a whole bunch of friends in a room together, playing live, with tape machines rolling. There’s a lot of energy that comes from knowing that you’ve only got one shot to get it right with no pro tools to fix anything afterwards. It was a blast to make.
- Was there a particular reason you chose to record in the UK?
The easy reasons were that the whole band were together supporting the Waterboys on tour, and there’s an incredible studio in Eastbourne called Echo Zoo Studios which is run by an amazing engineer David Lynch. A very good friend is friends with David and we got a deal to go in and make a record in a great studio with amazing old mics, great old tape machines, an incredible sounding Hammond and a 100-year-old Steinway grand. David has some nice old gear there and thankfully he knows how to use it all. The gear alone won’t do it for you.
- Your songs always feel very deep and meaningful- do the themes tend to be autobiographical or narratives about imaginary characters?
It’s kind of an even mix to be honest. In fact, on this record, it’s probably leaning more to the fictional characters although even with those songs you always put a bit of yourself in. Often at times you’re not interesting enough so you have to make other things up.
- So quiet Springsteen esque?
(Laughing) Well if you want to put his name next to mine in a sentence you can. I wouldn’t dare do that on my own.
- You’ll be playing the Cluny 2 – what can we expect?
Ha, well a bit like the album, you should expect a bit of rock and roll history to take place that night. No, it’ll be a great night. I was in the Cluny 2 recently to see Simon Felice so I know the venue and how good it sounds. We’ll have the full band out and support from a good friend, and amazing singer-songwriter J P Regery, so it’ll be a great night.
- Last question, I’ve heard a few times you mention that you love to read. Are there any books you’d recommend?
Oh, that’s tough. I’ve just finished The Tiger by John Valliant about Siberian Tigers in the far east of Russia and that was an incredible suspense thriller. I’m a huge, huge, Steinbeck fan, as well as Erich Maria Remarque, I love how they both write about human emotions and every-day people. And finally I read the brilliant ‘Truth and other lies’ by Asacha Arango last year and it read like a Hitchcock film. I was fairly late to reading, growing up in Texas I tended to be outside playing sports but now I read for pleasure and always have something on the go.
- I’ll have to go and get Truth and other lies, it sounds brilliant. Thanks for your time Jarrod, we’ll see you in March.
New album Ready the Horses is released on March 10th by Prroper Records.
Jarrod will play the Cluny 2 on March 19th