The Texas native’s sophomore effort, The Lonesome Traveler, has those finishing touches, and more.
The record, released earlier this year, features Dickenson’s characteristically smooth vocals, and his signature folksy feel, but adds something of a modern twist, broadening his musical reach.
The opening track, ‘Ain’t Waiting Any Longer’, is clearly Dickenson – the same folksy feel, the same salooney blues – but his vocals are cleaner than they have been on previous records.
The song is also chalk-full of a band of contributing musicians – David Pilch on upright bass, Sebastian Aymanns on percussion, Greg Leisz on electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and other strings, Jebin Buni on piano and organ, Richard Dodd on cello, Ryan Freeland on accordion, and Sista Jean and Jenni Alpert on backing vocals.
The long list of supporting musicians lends a modern flare to Dickenson’s music, while maintaining his signature Southern roots.
Meanwhile, ‘Ballad of the Lonesome Traveler’ mainly features a solo Dickenson. The simple, slow song makes way for Dickenson’s lyrical muse to go crazy. A singer-songwriter known for his ballads, Dickenson really doesn’t hold back –
“Hand grip the wheel / With bare knuckles white / Eyes fixed ahead / On that winding center strip / He’s chasing the ghost / Of a love gone awry / His demons are the memories / And his enemy is time”
It’s no wonder that he’s won countless songwriting competitions across the globe, and this track, from which the record derives its title, plays out more like a story than any of Dickenson’s previous ballads.
But, for me, what really pushes The Lonesome Traveler ahead of Dickenson’s debut, or even his phenomenal 2010 effort, Live at the Roost House, is its underlying upbeat-ness.
Take, for example, ‘Little Black Dress’. The song still showcases Dickenson’s Southern charm and smooth, smokey vocals, but adds a fun jazzy flare. The song also pairs fantastic riffs and interesting organs with a vocal styling that is unmistakably Dickenson.
Grab your copy of The Lonesome Traveler at www.jarroddickenson.com.