With country music being influenced by several different genres, there is a new wave of artists blending these sounds together. And Jelly Roll is undoubtedly one of those artists at the forefront of that movement, having had his hands in hip-hop, rap, and rock in the past.
The Tennessee native, who spent years in and out of prison as both a juvenile and an adult before making a permanent change for the better, has been getting into the thick of country music and showing he has what it takes to make it in the business.
The 38-year-old singer/songwriter’s RIAA Gold-Certified single “Son of a Sinner” has reached the top of the country charts. And his second single at country radio, “NEED A FAVOR,” continues to climb the charts. In addition to that, Jelly Roll just earned three nominations, heading into the 2023 CMT Music Awards. They include Male Video of the Year, Breakthrough Male Video of the Year, and CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year for “Son of a Sinner.”
Blending Country And Rock Has Been Increasingly Successful
Jelly Roll’s knack for blending different musical styles – particularly country and rock – has become part of the new trend in country radio, which finds artists like HARDY, Morgan Wallen, Brantley Gilbert, and more leading the charge as trailblazers. In fact, HARDY topped the Top Country Albums chart dated Feb. 4 with the mockingbird & THE CROW, which is a half rock and half country album.
But the transition into genre-bending has actually been going on longer than some fans might realize.
Through the years, country music has dabbled in many different mainstream genres. Per a Billboard article, Alabama, which would be considered traditional country today, was viewed as genre-bending after combining the classic rock influences of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revival into it’s sound.
Perhaps one of the most prosperous movements was the Bro-Country era, known for inserting hip-hop and pop influences with country music and combining that with carefree-leaning lyrics. Artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Florida Georgia Line built their respective careers around the genre, which introduced new sounds to listeners everywhere.
Jelly Roll Hopes For A Moment Of Rock-Infused Country Music
Now, rock is being spliced together with the country, and it’s being done successfully when taking a look at the charts. And, Jelly Roll says, he hopes this will be the trend moving forward.
“I’ll tell you what, I sure fuck*** hope so. (Laughs) I sure hope so, man. Especially because [HARDY and Brantley] are good friends of mine, and I believe that we all have really like stories and visions,” Jelly Roll tells Music Mayhem. “We were actually talking about that the other day, that anytime you have multiple people that do anything that feel the same, it brings attention to everything else. And I hope that we have a moment in country that was similar to the ‘Bro-Country moment,’ that was similar to the ‘Pop-Country moment,’ that was similar to when the pedal steel came back real big. Definitely. I’m hoping this is our version of one of those moments that comes through. That’s kind of what I hope. And, I and HARDY talk about that.”
Working On An EP With Brantley Gilbert
Artists having similar visions and continuing to branch out of the standard and traditional country formula leaves room for more collaborations. And Jelly Roll is already one of the singer/songwriters, looking ahead at combining his sound with other artists.
“Me and Brantley have been working on an EP together for most of the year. We probably got 10, 12, 13 songs together put up right now,” Jelly Roll shared. “And I was lucky enough to be in the studio with HARDY last week. So it might come together, man. These are good friends of mine.”
“We went and lived in the studio for about a week,” Gilbert, who will releasing So Help Me God (Deluxe Edition) on April 21, recently told Country Now of his combined project with Jelly Roll. We’ve really got enough for an album, so I think right now we’re just trying to figure out whether or not it’s gonna be an EP or an album, but there’s definitely something coming. This album that we put together, this EP that we put together, literally covers every base. I mean, we both went into our little bag of tricks across the board. So there’s a little bit of everything on it. When you hear this project, it will blow your mind. I could play you one song and then play you another one, and you can say, in a million years, do not ever put that on the same album.”
Opening up further about the project, Gilbert tells Music Mayhem, “It’s one of the first approaches in a while to a co-released project, a true 50-50 co-released project. And if we’re going to be on the forefront of whatever the new version of that is, this thing can’t just be another album. It can’t just be an EP. It’s got to be, in my words, I’d say it’s got to be an MF-er, but it’s got to be special. It has to make a statement and it has to stand on its own two feet. So we’re not taking it lightly, man. It’s something we’re approaching very, very intentionally and I think folks will appreciate that when it comes full circle and comes out.”
Jelly Roll Will Soon Embark On The 2023 Backroad Baptism Tour
On July 28, Jelly Roll will kick off his extensive 44-city Backroad Baptism Tour. The trek, which begins at the Bank Plus Amphitheater in Southaven, Mississippi, will make stops across the U.S. in Milwaukee, Bakersfield, Houston, Lexington, Salt Lake City, and more before wrapping in Tampa on Oct. 14.
Ashley McBryde, Elle King, Chase Rice, Caitlynne Curtis, Merkules, Struggle Jennings, Three 6 Mafia, Yelawolf, and Josh Adam Meyers will act as supporting acts for select dates of the tour.