Jarrod Dickenson Cashes In on Eternal Greed With ‘Gold Rush’

The seedy track follows a trail of money from the bad old days to the here and now.

Written by Chris Parton
Jarrod Dickenson Cashes In on Eternal Greed With ‘Gold Rush’
Jarrod Dickenson; Photo credit: Josh Wool

Indie-grit songwriter Jarrod Dickenson offers a throwback to the bad old days in his new track, “Gold Rush,” making its video premiere on Sounds Like Nashville today (April 1).

Featuring gangster-noir sonics and Dickenson’s warbling vocal twang, slinky horns and the woozy beat of a back-alley deal gone wrong, the pointed track compares the 1880s California gold rush and today’s Wall Street, a shadowy reminder that the get-rich-at-any-cost mindset is still very much alive — even in a crisis. Dickenson wrote the track for his upcoming Ready the Horses LP, giving it a grimy flair worthy of its underworld inspiration, and then wrapped it in a spooky music video to boot.

“This is a raucous, rowdy, menacing, good ole fashioned song about greed,” the Nashville-by-way-Texas artist tells SLN. “This song draws parallels between the gold rush in California in the 1800s and modern day Wall Street, and how the same greed and corruption that fueled the former can be found today. When recording this song we had one mantra, ‘What would Tom Waits do?’ I wanted this song to be mean and seedy. We had growling guitars and a dirty Hammond organ. We had boxes of metal and wood. At one point, our drummer was on the studio floor with a metal serving tray and a hammer.”

Like all artists, Dickenson has had to rethink his whole musical operation in the wake of COVID-19, canceling a series of shows with The Bones of J.R. Jones and rescheduling an entire U.K. tour which would have begun on April 21. Now he’s hustling to make ends meet — a feeling which may give him more insight into his shady “Gold Rush” characters. But this rambler and born gambler is banking on optimism, not succumbing to darkened times.

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Well, folks. Like so many others, it is with heavy hearts that we must announce that the remaining three shows on this Northeastern run are being postponed. Pulling shows is not something any of us want to do. Not only is it the only real way musicians like us can make a living, it’s also the reason most of us started playing music in the first place. Live music is the lifeblood of so many of us. That connection that we as humans make when we gather together and sing is what keeps us going. That said, these are strange times we find ourselves living in. No one knows how long this thing will last, or how long we’ll be out of work. It’s going to be a trying time for a lot of people, and not just musicians… but we’ll come out the other side. In the meantime, let’s be kind and helpful to one another. Claire and I look forward to singing for all of you again soon. (Much love to our brother @thebonesofjrjones for having us out for these last couple of weeks.) Cheers, JD

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“It’s a strange time we’ve all found ourselves in,” he says. “Musicians and people in the music industry are clinging on for dear life after months of touring have been pulled out from under us, but it’s not just the music world that is suffering. Small businesses all over the world are in danger of failing. The entire world economy is likely going to take a big hit.

“There aren’t many people who are likely to come out of this completely unscathed,” he goes on. “At the same time, some wonderful things are happening as well. People are making more of an effort to connect with friends and family, albeit in a virtual sense. We are seeing communities come together to support their beloved shops and restaurants and bars while they’ve been forced to close their doors. Amid the chaos and fear we are also seeing some of the most beautiful sides of humanity come to the forefront. On a personal note, we, like so many others aren’t sure exactly how we will get through this period since our livelihood depends so greatly upon a relentless touring schedule … but we will. Among the wreckage, I truly believe we will find beauty in all of this after the dust settles.”

Dickenson’s Ready the Horses arrives May 22. His is currently scheduled to return to the road with Bob Schneider on June 10 in Boston, and his U.K. run has been moved to mid-September.