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Jarrod Dickenson (from the album Big Talk available on Hooked Records)
Jarrod Dickenson (from the album Big Talk available on Hooked Records) (By Lee Zimmerman)
With his third album, Big Talk, singer/songwriter Jarrod Dickenson takes an assertive turn, tackling emotional issues that have impacted his psyche and left him feeling defeated, disillusioned and unsure of where he resides in a decidedly difficult world. Rather than lay on a psychiatrist’s coach, he vents his feelings in a series of poignantly personal songs, each with a raw underbelly and a sense of visceral vulnerability that leaves nothing unsaid in terms of either passion or purpose.
Any number of songs express that combination of distrust and desire, but “Born to Wander” states the case succinctly:
‘Maybe I was just born to wander
Maybe I was just born to swim upstream
Easy Street never looked appealing
Me, I’d keep running down a dream’.
It’s hardly the only song that equates with a loser’s lament. ‘…me, I’ve mastered the art of throwing it all away’ he insists on the tellingly-titled “Prefer To Lose”, ‘Oh, I guess somewhere deep inside, I just prefer to lose’.
Still, despite that defeatist attitude, each dire description is accompanied by rugged resolve, and in that regard, it’s hard not to be hooked. Dickenson’s difficulties — his severed relationship with a major label and struggle to survive the perils of the pandemic — don’t detract from the incisive melodies that give Big Talk such effortless engagement. “Look Hard Look” and “Buckle Under Pressure” each offer an assertive example of Dickenson’s more tenacious trappings, but the tender touches — shared through such beautiful ballads as “Goodnight”, “Home Again”, “If You’re Looking”, and “Don’t Deprive Me” — effectively tug at the heartstrings and find a sensitive underbelly where feelings can flourish and quiet reflection assuages the bruising and blistering wounds that resonate in the wake of betrayal and disappointment.
Granted, that pain is palatable throughout, but the unflinching emotion is genuinely affecting, allowing Big Talk, despite its sometimes-cynical sentiment, to speak with both clarity and conviction. Its title aside, this isn’t about bravado. It is, however, powerful and poignant. Credit Jarrod Dickenson with daring to illuminate certain truths that are often simply too hard to bear.
(By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Jarrod Dickenson from AMAZON
For more information head on over to Jarrod Dickenson website
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