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Dickenson's date with Ford in Ratoath

Story by John Donohoe

Thursday, 21st February, 2013 5:30pm

Dickenson's date with Ford in Ratoath

Jarrod Dickenson

In support of his forthcoming new album 'The Lonesome Traveler', Texas-born, now Brooklyn-based, singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson will be David Ford's special guest on his Irish tour which takes in the Venue in Ratoath on Saturday 6th April next.

In 'The Lonesome Traveler', Dickenson has crafted a truly panoramic collection of songs, penned and performed with uncommon spirit and invention. He expertly chronicles romance and struggle, solitude and adventure, in a resonant, rough-hewn voice that belies his relatively brief time on this earth. From the rambunctious 'Ain't Waiting Any Longer' to the elegiac 'Rosalie', Dickenson's distinctive songs reverberate with earnest emotion and restless energy. Co-produced with Grammy Award-winner Ryan Freeland and featuring a supporting cast of today's finest session musicians, The Lonesome Traveler marks the arrival of a gifted and original singer-songwriter.

Having devoted much of his high school years in Waco to sports, a passion for the blues - spanning Howlin' Wolf to Stevie Ray - eventually drove him to the guitar, while his father's record collection expanded his musical world to the classic rock and singer-songwriter canons. "Music just completely took over," says Dickenson. "It was a pretty big shift."

He was invited to play guitar and sing in his local church band, spurring him to begin writing songs before heading off to the University of Texas, Austin, where he furthered his musical education by playing regularly in pubs and clubs, coffee shops and churches. Discovering the songbooks of legendary Texas troubadours like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, while diving headlong into the pages of American literature, Dickenson became a voracious reader, inhaling Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and above all, John Steinbeck, whose tales of working class struggle struck a powerful chord in the young tunesmith.

In 2008, Dickenson recorded his first album, 'Ashes On The Ground' and continued to hone his craft the old-fashioned way, by hitting the highway, determined to introduce himself to as many audiences as humanly possible - "I drove thousands of miles, and played in over half of the states in our country", he says. "That was a very influential time for me. I learned that I love being on the road."

In January 2012, Dickenson decided to get out of Los Angeles and relocate to New York City, though not before another European trip for a return performance at the 2012 Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and a short series of London dates. No Depression hailed one London show, praising Dickenson's "simply breathtaking" songs for possessing "melodies many of his peers would give their left arm for", further noting that his "world weary voice and phrasing…will win him legions of admirers in the very near future."

Dickenson is now settling in to life in New York and has quickly become part of the city's eternal folk scene, playing frequent solo gigs with new friends and fellow artists while assembling a band of his own, "just to be able to achieve the sound of the record live." Most importantly, he's been hard at work, writing a new collection of songs that reflect the past year's epic changes. Perhaps Jarrod Dickenson might put down roots and be the lonesome traveler no more - "I don't want to leave", he avows, surely speaking of more than just his place of residence. "I see myself being here for a very long time."