Interivew: Getting to know Jarrod Dickenson
New York-based, Waco-born singer/songwriter, Jarrod Dickenson, recently released his second longplayer and has just finished a massively successful tour of the United Kingdom. We found out more:
I am a Texan, a New Yorker, a son, a grandson and a brother. I am a tall, ginger-bearded, hat-wearing kid from Waco, Texas (Yes, that Waco). I am a workaholic. I am relatively young, and yet a grumpy old man. I am a fan of John Steinbeck novels, the television show ‘Cheers’, American football and fine single malt whiskies. On my better days, I am a songwriter.
The Lonesome Traveler is a collection of songs and stories that come together to form my second studio album. I wrote these songs while I lived in Austin and Nashville, and while I was driving myself thousands upon thousands of miles across the highways and byways of the United States, singing to the four or five people that would show up to my gigs. I recorded this album in Los Angeles with engineer/co-producer Ryan Freeland (Ray LaMontagne, Aimee Mann, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, etc.)
New York is the place I currently call “home”. I have had a passionate love affair with New York City for many years. I became completely enthralled by the city about seven years ago while I was still living in Austin, and I knew I would have to move there. It took several years, and stops in Nashville and Los Angeles came first, but I finally made the move to Brooklyn a little over one year ago. I absolutely adore the city. It has an energy that I’ve not found anywhere else in the world. It is a very inspiring place to be, but it is also a very hard place to carve out a living. The old saying “if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere” is undeniably true. It is a constant struggle living in the city, but I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I see myself calling New York home for a long time.
I’m currently listening to many different things. At any given point you’ll find the ‘Chairman of the Board’, Frank Sinatra spinning on my turntable, but I also regularly listen to folks like Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and more. I’ve also completely fallen in love with the music of Laura Marling. I discovered her music while on the road in the States a few years ago. I randomly picked up her “I Speak Because I Can” album in a record store in Charlotte, North Carolina one stormy evening, knowing absolutely nothing about her, or what kind of music I was about to hear. I simply liked the cover, and was in desperate need of something new after several weeks on the road. I popped it into my CD player while driving back to the hotel, and ended up listening to the entire record in the pouring rain, parked outside my hotel room that night. I was absolutely stunned, and I have been a fan ever since.
I spend too much time worrying, planning, organizing. My greatest fault is that I have a distinct inability to ‘live in the moment’. I am always looking ahead, thinking of what I need to be doing next, and stressing over how I can be doing it more effectively. My father is constantly telling me to “enjoy the journey”, and he is absolutely right. Of course, the ironic part is that I now spend my time worrying, planning, stressing and thinking of how I might better enjoy the journey!
It might surprise people to learn that before I was a musician, I was a golfer. I played golf competitively all throughout high school. I had visions of playing in college, but music completely took over during my senior year of high school. I still love the game of golf, but rarely get the opportunity to play these days. If any of you folks out there want to treat a poor, traveling musician to a round of golf, I’ll happily accept!
In the future I would like to continue writing, recording and playing music to anyone and everyone who will listen.
Interview by Bobby Townsend.