A month has passed since the crowds at the Black Deer Festival were engrossed by a huge variety of talented artists. The memories are still vivid: fabulous music played to appreciative audiences across three joyous days. For any of our readers who have not sampled the delights of Black Deer, you are urged to give it a go in 2024 – Early Bird Tickets can be purchased here. While there’s a lot on offer, there are two really key aspects of the festival. Firstly, the music is fabulous, with a range of Americana and roots catered for across the stages. Secondly, the atmosphere and sense of camaraderie and community are genuinely uplifting.
Amongst the most engaging experiences at Black Deer are the Songwriter Sessions in The Ridge tent and the Song Circles on The SupaJam Stage. These are an opportunity to explore the inspiration or the writing process behind our favourite songs. Before his outstanding, and very busy, set in Hayley’s Bar, Texan singer Jarrod Dickenson shared the SupaJam Stage with My Girl The River. After the Song Circle, Jarrod and Claire Dickenson recorded an exclusive backstage song for AUK, contending with the driving rain and some heavy metal (?!) in the background. It’s been another busy year for the Dickensons, with a typically relentless touring schedule (check out our review here) to promote brand new album ‘Big Talk’, which received an impressive 8/10 review from AUK here. ‘Big Talk’ is a triumph of an album. There’s a newfound sense of direction and directness, a defiance that reflects a troubled few years for Jarrod, including significant ill-health and long-running issues with his record company. It was a privilege to catch up with Jarrod and Claire and share a few words after their song ‘If You’re Looking’, taken from the new record. Enjoy.
You’re returning to the Black Deer Festival, having played here before. What’s it like coming back?
It’s great. Yeah – we were here in 2018, the first year of the festival. I had an amazing time and very happy to be back. It’s easily one of our favourite festivals on planet Earth, so we’re delighted to be back.
You’re playing the SupaJam Stage now, doing a songwriters’ circle. What’s that experience like?
It’s always interesting and fun doing that kind of thing where you play a song and then someone else, then someone else, then someone else and by that point you say, “Hmmm, maybe I’ll play this song – that kind of goes along with what’s happening on stage.” It’s kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience and hopefully one that the audience enjoys.
You tour relentlessly and you’ve been touring with Amanda Shires. How did that come about?
That came about because my US booking agent also works with Amanda in a different capacity and was kind enough to send my music to her. She apparently approved and said we could come and do some shows together, which we were absolutely delighted about.
Have you got anything new that you’re working towards at the moment?
We’re going to be coming back over in November for another headline tour of the UK, so we’re excited about that. We’re keeping promoting this new record and trying to get as many people to hear it as we can.