The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

The New Normal: Waco and COVID-19

Waco Native Indie Musician Cancels International Tour

5 months ago

By Claire Van Zee

Friendly and soulful are two of the words I would use to describe the Waco born folk-singer Jarrod Dickenson. Before moving to Nashville and touring the world (Germany and the UK were two of the many places he had gigs scheduled before COVID-19 came along), Jarrod was just a good ole’ Waco boy who went to Midway High School.

“Waco was a wonderful place to grow up. It wasn’t a small town by any stretch, but it did have a bit of that feel. It had everything you could want as a kid,” Jarrod said.

After high school, Jarrod attended McLennan Community College for a few years before deciding to make his way to Austin to attend the University of Texas and try his hand in the music industry. His parents were big music fans and that had an impact on him, he said.

“My dad’s record collection, with all of the things he grew up listening to, became my musical education. I grew up listening to things like the Beatles, the Stones, Simon and Garfunkel and Tom Petty,” Jarrod said.

Now years on, Jarrod is known for his soulful vocals and has gained a fiercely loyal international fanbase. He has even toured with legends such as Bonnie Raitt, Don McLean and The Waterboys. And much to the excitement of those fans, Jarrod has a new album, “Ready the Horses,” set to be released May 22.

While the album itself is certainly coming out in May, unfortunately, COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into his original plan of touring for a good portion of the rest of the year. He, however, is choosing to find the bright side in all of this.

“It’s hard to complain too much about the situation because it certainly isn’t just affecting us,” he said. “While it definitely was a blow to have a whole tour calendar wiped out, it was obviously for the right reasons. I think everyone distancing themselves is very much the right thing to do, but it’s not without its complications, that’s for sure.”

When asked why his team decided to release the album on its set date considering the circumstances, he replied with two reasons. One, there is no promise that a rescheduled date won’t be postponed as well. “You could try to reschedule, but you might just be shooting yourself in the foot,” he said. And second, because what better gift to give his fans than a bit of excitement and entertainment. “More importantly, everyone is sitting around at home right now, so why not give them something to listen to and enjoy and hopefully take their minds off things for a little while,” he said.

In an effort to stay in touch with fans, Jarrod and his wife have been doing weekly live stream gigs through Facebook and Instagram every Thursday at 1 p.m. CST. While it’s not quite the same as traveling around and playing in clubs to people who are actually in the room, it’s still been a wonderful outlet to connect with fans and spread a little bit of joy, he said.

And self-isolation hasn’t been too bad for his creative flow either. He’s written at least one new tune and is working on a few others that are in various stages of completion. “That’s one thing about being on the road all the time, you don’t really have time to write. The hustle of being on the road pretty much takes up all of your energy and focus. So having some, kind of, forced time to sit down with a guitar and work things out has actually been really nice,” he said.

The average day in the Dickenson household consists of waking up in their Nashville abode, making a cup of coffee (sourced from Apex Coffee Roasters through one of his favorite Waco coffee shops, Dichotomy), doing some computer work and then working on music in the afternoon. According to him, his quarantine life doesn’t look a lot different than his off-tour life.

“When you spend your life traveling around, playing at clubs and bars, at least for us, when you actually have time at home that’s about all you want to do is stay home,” he said.

But it’s not all just work, work, work. Like the rest of us, he and his wife have also watched “Tiger King.” “Along with everything else on Netflix,” he added. If reading is more your style, then find yourself a copy of “A Gentleman in Moscow” and read along with the Waco native singer-songwriter.

When this all passes, Jarrod said he’ll definitely make his way down to the great city of Waco and put on a show for us. So, until then, check out his new album “Ready the Horses” coming out May 22.

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