Ready The Horses
Ready The Horses is the US equivalent of “ Taxi !!” and on this sonic evidence Mr Dickenson is indeed going somewhere. The track titles evoke Emmylou Harris or Vince Gill – the human condition, The West. The cuts were put down on tape for the warmth that this can bestow upon the soundscape and (I would say) more so, the vocals. Gaining experience on the Texas and Nashville playing circuits, the guitar-toting Dickenson has been busy opening for diverse acts – The Stylistics, The White Buffalo and even Jools ‘Here’s film of you when you could stand up straight’ Holland.
Lead cut Faint Of Heart sets the organic vibe of the record with its acoustic guitar, sighing Hammond and tremulous vocal, Before a minute is up the blue-collar country chug starts. It’s catchy and old-timey top-tapping, staggers and all. Dickenson has a storyteller’s voice and delivery and I am put in mind of the late Merle Haggard.
Take It From Me plunges us into a Deep Soul sound that screams Muscle Shoals on a slow ballad albeit still in the country voice, just leaning into soul rather than emulating Percy or Otis. The vocal chorale adds a gospel vibe ; Your Heart Belongs To Me takes a stealthy acoustic guitar base and adds a more conversational vocal, a lovely female vocal is a fine addition. Way Past Midnight skips into earshot and is more Brad Paisley or Dwight Yoakam territory in feel, the piano and Hammond are well-balanced. This one sounds like a live favourite and maybe a set-starter. The grainy horns add depth.
In The Meantime is solemn as can be, almost The Band in impact and texture. Personal lyrics to a loved one. Could be a Fifties recording. California’s soft acoustic guitar is beguiling and the tempo is cowboy-sombre. Gold Rush is much more my type of music, bluesy backbeat and unhurried, great words and maybe the best vocal performance on this collection. Jarrod pretty much growls this one out. A Cowboy & The Moon is a Western ballad, played straight. I could see Willie Nelson covering his song. A breathy accordion gives a slight TexMex element.
Nothing More returns to the soul sound on a really nice easy-going song. Closing track I Won’t Quit is gentle and restrained.
Quality country music from a distinctive singer and clearly talented writer. Too many ballads for me overall and some faster cuts would have balanced the set better. But I think this stuff will melt quite a few female hearts….
(Many thanks to all of the team at Republic Media)
Jarrod Dickenson’s new studio album ‘Ready The Horses’ is released by Hooked Records on Friday 10th March 2017.
For more information visit Jarrod’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2lJbPgz
In addition, Jarrod will be supporting the release with a headline March 2017 UK Tour which will stop at the following venues:
Thursday 16th March 2017 – Empire Music Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
Saturday 18th March 2017 – Hug & Pint, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sunday 19th March 2017 – Cluny 2, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Tuesday 21st March 2017 – Norwich Arts Centre, United Kingdom
Wednesday 22nd March 2017 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, United Kingdom
Thursday 23rd March 2017 – The Borderline, London, United Kingdom
Saturday 25th March 2017 – Dark Star Brewery, Partridge Green, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Sunday 26th March 2017 – Glee Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Monday 27th March 2017 – Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom