Published on December 10th, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson0
Jelly Roll Fuses Hip Hop, Rock and His Country Roots with Whiskey Sessions EP
Known for years by his unique Country-infused Hip Hop sound, Tennessee lyricist Jelly Roll has amassed a loyal fan base. Today, Jelly Roll crosses into new territory with his Rock-inspired project Whiskey Sessions, which he is releasing in conjunction with Los Angeles-based Jingle Punks Music and Pop-Up Music.
The five-song acoustic EP is now available on iTunes and Spotify, and live performance videos for the songs can be found on Jelly Roll’s YouTube channel. A full-length studio album will follow in 2015.
Growing up in Antioch just south of Nashville, Jelly Roll was in and out of the legal system, even after releasing a mixtape with fellow Southern artist Haystak in 2006. By the time his solo album The Hate Goes On hit shelves in 2009, the songwriter grew tired of his legal issues and life patterns, and decided to focus on turning the corner with his career.
In 2011 Jelly was involved in four releases, including the SNO project with Lil Wyte and BPZ. and the Strictly Business collaborative album with Haystak. In 2013, he cranked out three more projects, including No Filter with Lil Wyte and the controversial free Whiskey, Weed & Women mixtape. With the latter, the strangest and biggest break in his career came about by chance, as Waffle House issued a cease & desist letter for Jelly’s play on their logo for his mixtape artwork. Jelly flipped the script and re-issued the mixtape as Whiskey, Weed & Waffle House, as press clamored to tell the story of the chain’s “biggest fan” being a victim of corporate greed.
As he entered 2014, Jelly Roll realized that he needed to step his game up once again, but more than just the music, he wanted to change his lifestyle and business plan. And so his endeavor to create Whiskey Sessions began.
From the R&B-flavored ” Sunday Morning” to the Southern rock angst of ” When I Get Rich”, it is apparent that Jelly Roll enjoyed embarking upon new territory with this EP.
“I loved the fact that we sat down in the studio and legitimately recorded all this in one take,” Jelly explains . “No click track, no big production – just me, two guitar players, bass player and a drummer. We were having a jam session that got recorded. If you watch the videos, you can tell we are having a blast.”
Composer / producer Jared Gutstadt , a.k.a. Jingle Jared a.k.a. Captain Hooks , and his creative team the Jingle Punks have been a part of Jelly’s growth. Jared has worked with artists ranging from Dierks Bentley and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Nas and Travis Barker , and he acknowledges that writing with Jelly Roll has been an inspiring process.
Jared explains that the unique new sound is “one part Three 6 Mafia, one part Jack White, and one part good old Southern rock and roll with a dash of Seger in there for good measure.”
“I proceeded to go into the studio with Jelly, and devised a plan to shift him from the world of Hip Hop into the world of mainstream Rock & Roll,” Jared says. “He has an amazing story to tell, and it’s a shot of adrenaline that the Rock world. I invented my own version of the music business, and that’s what Jelly and I are setting out to do – rewriting the rules.”
Jelly Roll agrees that his music is evolving in a big way, and is proud of changes in every aspect of his life.
“I think it’s Jelly 2.0 so to speak. The music is a reflection of my personal growth… plus women love when I sing,” Jelly smiles. “I look better than I’ve ever looked, feel better than I’ve ever felt and am making better music than I’ve ever made.”