Jelly Roll Hints at Overseas Tour, Despite Felony Conviction: ‘I’m So Excited’

Jelly Roll has had a near-miraculous turnaround in his life, from being incarcerated around 40 times, first as a juvenile and then as an adult, to becoming one of country music’s biggest success stories. The Nashville native has far exceeded what anyone might have expected from him, but his past still haunts him, especially when it comes to leaving the country.

Charged with a felony at just 16 years old, the mark on his record means he is barred from entering some countries outside of the United States, prohibiting him from performing overseas. Fortunately, Jelly Roll hints that an international tour might be happening, after years of trying to make it happen.

“I’m so excited,” Jelly Roll hinted to Jon Bon Jovi, for Interview Magazine. “We’re figuring out the final pieces of some legal puzzles for me to get overseas.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC


Jelly Roll has already cleared several hurdles to let him perform in other parts of the world, but admits there is still more work to do.

“It’s funny, America has finally agreed to let me leave and give me a passport, but some countries won’t let me come because of my felonies,” Jelly Roll says. “We’re working on that. I think it’s going to work in my favor.”

Now 39, Jelly Roll was just 16 years old when he was convicted of a felony, and while he doesn’t gloss over that he committed the crime — aggravated felony — he does say that he, and so many others, deserve another chance.

“I never want to overlook the fact that it was a heinous crime,” Jelly Roll told Billboard. “This is a grown man looking back at a 16-year-old kid that made the worst decision that he could have made in life and people could have got hurt and, by the grace of God, thankfully, nobody did … They were talking about giving me more time than I’d been alive. I hadn’t hit my last growth spurt. I was charged as an adult years before I could buy a beer, lease an apartment, get a pack of cigarettes.”

Jelly Roll has been vocal about wanting a pardon from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, but only if others receive the same grace.

“A pardon would change my whole life,” Jelly Roll said, adding that he isn’t the only one who is paying for his crime long after he changed the course of his life.

“Maybe we’re disciplining an age group that should be rehabilitated,” he said. “I just want to have that conversation, and if it can end in a pardon … let’s go.”

In addition to plotting an international tour, Jelly Roll is also working on a new album, the follow-up to Whitsitt Chapel, released last June.

“There’s a lot of storytelling on this album,” Jelly Roll told Taste of Country. “I wrote probably a hundred-some songs last year, maybe 150-plus, trying to figure this album out. I’ve never been more inspired though. I was getting so many stories. People were pouring into it … I’m at gas stations and red carpets and I’m hearing life stories of people that are really inspired stories. I’ve never wrote more.”

Jelly Roll will embark on his Beautifully Broken Tour on August 27. Find all of Jelly Roll’s music and tour dates at