It was a bustling and energetic Sunday evening, the crowds still revelling from the Rugby match earlier in the day, when Cat, Stephen and I made our way through Edinburgh’s Old Town to catch singer songwriter Jarrod Dickenson perform. Texan born Jarrod rode into town in style as part of his UK, Ireland & European Tour, having just travelled via the longest possible route from the Isle of Man.
Jarrod appeared cool, calm and collected as he casually wove his way through a packed ‘Sneaky Petes’ in Edinburgh’s historical Cowgate, the crowd already elevated from the high caliber of supporting acts; Andy Tucker and Owen Denvir. Onto the stage and with a quick tune of his guitar, Jarrod opened his set with ‘The Northern Sea’ a beautiful composition which for me conjured up the image of a lonesome traveller on the road. This was perhaps aided by Jarrod’s visual presence, his perfectly slanted Stetson hat and his mixed three piece ensemble, not to mention his meticulously well groomed beard. His performance began and continued throughout in a smooth, colourful and talented musicianship, this was clearly being very well received by the fixated crowd.
Jarrod Dickenson’s songwriting and powerful lyrics explore various themes and emotions. He attributes American literature and influences of early country and blues to his songwriting improving over time. ‘No Work For A Working Man’ is a dark and reflective song of those who have fallen on hard times, both heartfelt and descriptive in its imagery.
What stood out for me as I observed the musical and visual presence of this multi layered artist is that he is a natural storyteller, able to change the mood and ambience with the strum of his guitar and that sultry blues voice. Rolling into the more upbeat and catchy ‘Rosalie’, Jarrod demonstrated fantastic artistic range by changing the mood and emotion from one that was of a somber nature into one of enthusiasm and energy. He is also a man in love who spoke of his fiancee at times and this clearly shone through with a song dedicated to her, it was the day after ‘Valentines’.
Alongside the more well known songs from his already recorded songbook, he thrilled the crowd with some new tracks which, by the positive response were well received. His informal and relaxed dialogue and interactions throughout his show was comical, refreshing and endearing, including an improvised recording of the audience singing to his mother Teresa back in Waco, Texas. We managed to speak with him after the show, and found a relaxed and pleasant musician who’s clearly enjoying the musical path he is travelling. Jarrod who is based in Brooklyn, New York is active on the folk and gig venue scene. His country and blues voice has earned recognition by winning the grand Belfast Nashville Songwriters Competition in 2011. Jarrods appeal is International and timeless, he has recorded an album with grammy award winning Ryan Freeland and has two additional EP’s already under ‘The Troubadour’. I have always connected with his recorded music and now will always have in my memory that epic night The Lonesome Traveller came to town.