COUNTRY STAR OF THE MONTH: JELLY ROLL
Written by Tony Schultz on December 1, 2022
This isn’t your normal “country artist” that is for sure. Jelly Roll, AKA Jason DeFord is known more for rapping than he is for waxing nostalgic about a lost love and a pickup truck. However, you can’t deny the crossover hit he has had with “Son of A Sinner” that has climbed the country charts for the last few months. If you didn’t know what he looked like or heard anything else by him, or even his interesting name you would think that some new singer coming off the Nashville strip had just released his first big hit. You’re not far off as he does hail from Nashville. You can tell by his music al styling that Country Music definitely has a huge influence on his singing no matter the styling.
The main thing you hear in his lyrics is someone trying to climb out of the hole he dug for himself. Singing about how drugs, drinking, and bad decisions have been a struggle for him and he draws heavily off of those experiences. As much as he draws from Nashville he can quickly draw from rock or heavy metal to get his message across. As an artist he clearly causes musical genres easier than other singers or groups. But in the end you really connect with what he’s saying and clearly understand how he used to live his life. I’m not going to tell you that you should suddenly love Rap Music, but listening to Jelly Roll is probably reaching some people going through similar situations more than it would if he was just pigeon holed in one style. Jelly Roll may not appeal to everyone, but there are definitely some songs that prove he can exist in Country Music while also existing in other musical realms.
As I listened to some of his catalog and it jumped from the varying sounds and styles, one thing remained the same. His “Nashville Growl” of a voice where you can hear that backwoods vibe is always present. It’s an accent that seems to be stuck with artists coming from that area. Like Brantley Gilbert with less gravel in his tones. Jelly Roll can make his voice soar at times while quickly bringing to down to a fast paced roll of lyrics that will make you feel like you can’t keep up.