Album Review: Jarrod Dickenson – READY THE HORSES

Jarrod Dickenson READY THE HORSES

With its warm sound and well-written tracks, READY THE HORSES is a worthy follow-up to the groundbreaking THE LONESOME TRAVELER

Following the critically acclaimed THE LONESOME TRAVELER, American singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson finally releases his highly anticipated new album READY THE HORSES on 10 March.

Dickenson’s first exposure to UK audiences came in 2013 when he supported David Ford for 15 UK tour dates. Since then, the Texan-born singer-songwriter has supported legendary artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Don McLean, The Stylistics and Jools Holland on their UK tours and has performed at Glastonbury and the Larmer Tree Festival.

READY THE HORSES is Dickenson’s third full-length album following THE LONESOME TRAVELER (2013) and ASHES ON THE GROUND (2010). The new album, which was recorded in the UK on two inch tape reels previously used by Paul McCartney and Roger Daltrey, mixes folk and Americana with country roots blues and soul, to produce a much warmer sound than his previous recordings.

The ten track recording opens with FAINT OF HEART, a memorable country/blues number about the struggles of the working man. Those familiar with Dickenson’s previous work will know he has a flair for writing and his talent for storytelling is certainly evident here, as well as in tracks such as GOLD RUSH, a menacing and raucous number about corporate greed and A COWBOY & THE MOON a soulful guitar pickin’ number about an aging cowboy reminiscing about the past.

Alongside the country tracks are a number of heart-wrenching ballads with IN THE MEANTIME, a laid back love song and NOTHING MORE, a beautiful ballad with warm expressive vocals, in particular standing out. Fans will also recongise a new version of YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME, a track originally from the four track EP SONGS FROM WILLOW ST which has been stripped back and re-recorded as a duet with his wife Claire Dickenson.

Yet while Dickenson’s own particular brand of Americana is still evident in tracks like CALIFORNIA and I WON’T QUIT, READY THE HORSES boasts more of a soulful feel than his previous work, with WAY PAST MIDNIGHT, an upbeat piano driven number with a horn section and TAKE IT FROM ME, a beautiful ballad with soaring backing vocals, both combining elements of gospel with rhythm and blues.

While READY THE HORSES may not quite boast the flawless production values of THE LONESOME TRAVELER, an incredible the amount of emotion and craftsmanship has gone into this album and it’s clear that Dickenson has grown both as a singer and a storyteller. There is a nice balance of genres in the songs and the warmth of his vocals gets the best out of every track.

You also can’t fault Dickenson for his writing. All of the ten self-penned songs are well-written, with the singer-songwriter using his own colourful narrative as a backdrop to portray stories of a heartrending and thought provoking nature.

If you’re a fan of Dickenson’s previous work, you’re sure to enjoy READY THE HORSES. All in all, this is an excellent album and a worthy follow-up to the groundbreaking 2013 THE LONESOME TRAVELER.

4 out of 5 stars

READY THE HORSES by Jarrod Dickenson is released on 10 March 2017 via Hooked Records.