Take 5: Jarrod Dickenson

Jarrod Dickenson, is a Nashville based singer-songwriter. His emotive lyrics and memorable melodies have helped him build a loyal fan base on both sides of the Atlantic. He has toured with Bonnie Rait and Don Mclean. We were delighted to catch up with him on his recent visit to the UK.

Welcome back to London. The deal is five questions in five mins …. here goes

You’re here in the UK for a few select dates, starting with the Royal Academy for the special Expressway event curated by the Academicians’ Room and byNWR in collaboration with Black Deer Festival. Tell us how this all came about and what you’ve enjoyed about the night so far.

I’ve been really looking forward to this. My friends who run the Black Deer Festival curated the music for this event and they asked if I wanted to be involved. Of course, I said, sure, we’ll be there. It’s amazing, the film, music, food is all incredible and interesting. Great artists to see and free booze, hard to turn down!  There’s really no down side!

Tell us about how you approached the recording process for the new EP ‘Under a Texas Sky’  

 Very much as with all of my records. I get a bunch of players together. We then track it all out together. I’ m not a big fan of piecing it together, you know, doing drums, then base and then vocals.  I like at least the core of the track to be a band playing together, to me that has energy and an honest quality to it that you can’t fake. There’s a friend of mine in Nashville called Johnny Duke we worked with, who has a studio at the back of his house. It sounds ramshackle, but you step inside and you say, wow, this is incredible.  We just had a great time.      

Was there one song that when you started to rehearse, you thought, this EP is on the right track.

This song that started the idea behind the EP – paying tribute to fellow Texas artists, was a song called ‘Dublin Blues.’ I’d been playing it live and that was the thing that kicked it all off. It was the first one we went in to record. When we were all in a circle, facing each other, it was a real moment in the studio. Everybody was feeding off each other, there was vibe happening, it was a special moment. It’s such a great song, it’s hard to mess with, you know!

One of my favourite tracks of yours is ‘My heart belongs to you’ Please can you tell us the story / inspiration behind that song?

That one I wrote, when I was still living in New York. A few weeks before I moved there, I met my now wife, Claire in Belfast. We immediately started dating, long distance, for three and half years, New York to Belfast.  Going months without seeing each other. Now we’ve been married nearly four years. That song is not necessarily autobiographical, but I think our circumstance and situation certainly played a part in the writing. It’s a simple love song, basically saying the most important thing in a relationship is time spent with one and other, and that’s what we were fighting for at that time. Not seeing each other for months on end meant that seeing each other was the goal. As I was writing it, I always heard it in my head as a duet. It took some convincing to get Claire to sing with me, when she finally agreed, it all fell together.

Five things we should do if we go to Texas might include …..

  • If you’re going to Texas, you have to have BBQ. That’s a must. The best place to do that is in my home town, Waco. There’s a place called Guess Family BBQ. They make the most incredible brisket.
  • Another thing to do is to go to Anton’s in Austin. It’s a Blues club, I think it opened in the 70’s. Clifford Anton, a huge Blues fan, made it his life’s work bringing all these incredible, influential artists, like BB King and Muddy Waters to his club. Go on a Monday night.
  • Go to a football game – see the Texas Longhorns
  • Buy some cowboy boots
  • You could also go to the Dr Pepper museum if you’re in Waco!

Quick fire Q’s

Peace or Kindness – Kindness – that would create peace

Fedora or Stetson – Not necessarily exclusive. Stetson also makes fedoras. In this instance, Fedora

Sun rays or moon glow – Moon glow

Rodeo or the Alamo – Alamo

Roy Orbison or Roy Rogers – Roy Orbison