Few singers possess a voice as distinctively honey-rich and warm as Texan Jarrod Dickenson. But there’s a little more edge and even anger in that voice on his new material. It’s been some years since Dickenson’s highly acclaimed sophomore album ‘Ready the Horses’, which combined various country, folk and Americana influences into a soulful blend of magical songwriting. Why such a long wait? Well, firstly issues with a major label record deal-gone-bad, then Covid-complications that left him with a lifelong medical condition, got in the way. The challenges of recent years, despair at Trump-era politics and the frustrations of the music industry have inspired Dickenson to produce his most direct music to date, reinforced by his decision to self-produce the record this time around. Finally, ‘Big Talk’ is about to be unleashed on the world.
‘Long Hard Look’ is the first single from the new record. It’s a grooving, bluesy song driven along by Jano Rix’s drums and Ted Pecchio’s Bass. Layers of Hammond Organ from Rix and slide from the talented JP Ruggieri, who also mixed the song, give it an absorbing fullness. As ever, Claire Dickenson delivers impassioned, additional vocals.
Right now, the world around us is pretty grim; we’re surrounded injustice, inhumanity, selfishness and conflict. There’s so much outrage and too much blame to go round. In ‘Long Hard Look’, Dickenson asks us to reflect on own behaviour and treatment of others, “Are you picking up your brother // Or are you knocking him down?” Would we recognise our flaws and change if we truly examined ourselves? Dickenson says: “We live in an age where it seems our first instinct is to succumb to our darker nature. We’re quick to make snap judgments about people and to attack anyone who thinks or acts differently than we do.” You can check out a stripped-back version of the song here in Dickenson’s excellent ‘mini-gig’, recorded recently exclusively for Americana UK. It’s easy to see how well the song will translate to the stage in either full-band or smaller duo shows.
It’s been a long wait for Dickenson’s third full studio album but it’ll finally be with us on 3rd February 2023. Pre-save, order or stream ‘Big Talk’ here and, while you’re waiting, enjoy this video, illustrated and animated by Craig Bostick, with additional animation and editing by Claire Dickenson.
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