One of the most frustrating aspects of who writes about music, it is to observe how foolish, very often, major record labels can be, especially when they are totally unable to spot and reward adequately artists that carry within such an enormous depth of talent.
The most unfair side of the aforementioned thought, it is that said artists are forced to work twice as hard, both in studio and On The Road, having also to look after promoting themselves and their music, so to get visible and appreciated enough, as they rightly deserve, with their fans around the world.
In some ways, this has been, in recent years, the musical tale of one of the most inspired Country, Folk and Americana's torchbearers and long-time friend of our website, the American singer/songwriter Jarrod Dickenson, somebody that keeps on releasing records of enormous quality and class, such as Ready The Horses or The Lonesome Traveler, among others.
Ready the Horses, especially, was and still is an incredible hit in Dickenson's career, an album that deservedly projected the Texas-born singer/songwriter right up the appreciation scale of both music press and fans.
But just when Dickenson's star was starting soaring very high, on the back that the success of Ready The Horses created, both as an album and on Tour, the pandemic stopped him in his tracks (and several millions of fellow musicians around the planet, sadly), just when the American artist was also starting working on the making of his next album.
Between the disputes with record labels that almost compromised Dickenson's artistic rise, at the time that Ready The Horses was due to be released and the fact that the pandemic brought Dickenson hefty health issues resulting, sadly, in a life-long medical condition, the very talented American singer/songwriter didn't let those unfortunate circumstances to dictate his enormous passion for music, but decided instead to start working on a record where he could be able to vent all the frustrations and the many challenges that Dickenson had unwillingly to face, in recent years, together, of course, with touching on other everyday's life topics.
It's no real wonder why, in fact, Jarrod Dickenson's 2023 brand new record, called Big Talk, shows, on its cover, the close-up of the frosted front of a Yellow Cab looking rather scary, a little like the gigantic mouth of a shark or a similar marine predator, presumably to ironically paraphrase what sometimes how cruel the corporate music world can be.
But whoever has come across Dickenson's musical talent, ability and inspiration before, through the years, knows very well that the singer/songwriter is, first and foremost, a highly talented and inspired musician at heart and as such, his primary focus was to write songs that could resonate not only with his personal life and career but also with Dickenson's many loyal fans.
Big Talk contains, together with hugely well-crafted songs packed with melodies and impeccable (as always) vocal deliveries from Dickenson, some relevant topics that can be easily spotted in nowadays' society, like homesickness, the challenges rising within couples in everyday's life, anger towards social injustices and towards those absurdities that politic often brings, in the modern world every day, the emotional strength of having to move forward in life when necessary and to have to leave the past behind and, last but not least, the importance of family love.
Sonically, Dickenson's new album is most definitely the natural step ahead of the Ready The Horses album. The American artist experiments, on his brand new record and rather exquisitely, different genres and layers of sound, perhaps to better emphasize the messages or statements that each song expresses in such a cohesive and well written style, on a very well structured, played, sang and arranged album like Big Talk clearly is.
Self produced by the Texas-born singer/songwriter and supported, musically, as always by some of Dickenson's long time collaborators such as his wife Claire, JP Ruggieri on guitar, Jano Rix on organ, drums and percussion and Ted Pecchio on bass, Big Talk is a record that intrigues the listener from start to end, both lyrically and sonically and it is a true mirror of the soul of an artist like Dickenson that is always highly creative in every aspect of his musicianship, somebody that speaks from the heart from his songwriting, by profoundly meaning every word he sings, with heartwarming honesty.
Dickenson's vocals seem to get better with each passing album too. The American singer/songwriter possesses a natural ability in his singing voice, armed with such a natural depth and strength that goes hand in hand with Dickenson's emotions, embracing in this way the role of singer, writer, storyteller and troubadour all at the same time, with effortless grace and ability.
The Texas-born artists has chiseled another winning record packed with many strong songs from start to end. Big Talk is a body of work that will entise you more and more as you go into all the tunes part of the record, until you will find yourself, on the final notes of the album's marvelous closing track called Goodnight, an extraordinary semi-acoustic songs written in honour of Dickenson's grandparents, feeling a little emotional and teary too, because of the song's huge intensity.
Big Talk is also the definitive confirmation of Dickenson's enormous talent as a singer and as a songwriter, an artist able to connect with his fans like very few artists out are capable to, through songs that speak to the soul of the listeners just as much as they speak to Dickenson himself. Another musical gem in the precious artistic pendant of this fabulous American Troubadour.
Big Talk is out now and it is available to be purchased on Jarrod Dickenson's Official Website