Jelly Roll Recalls the Dream That Led Him to Write ‘Save Me’

Jelly Roll‘s life might be entirely different, if he had never released “Save Me.” The Nashville native’s entire life changed when he shared the vulnerable and honest song with the world, unaware at the time of how “Save Me” would impact, quite literally, everything for him.

“I actually wrote this, it was the middle of 2020,” Jelly Roll recalls on The Howard Stern Show. “We were still spraying boxes with Lysol. It’s the only time in my career this has happened, and I don’t want to sound like a quacko when I say it, but truthfully, I heard ‘Somebody save me,’ that melody in a dream to the point that I thought I stole it.”

Jelly Roll sang the melody he heard into his voice notes on his phone by the bed and went to sleep. The next day, he fortuitously had a session booked, although the album he thought was already completed. Jelly Roll went into the studio with his good friend, D Ray [David Ray Crowell], to kill time before he left with his family for a vacation.

“I knew him since we were in high school,” Jelly Roll shares. “He was in and out of jail early in his life. Started working as a painter, construction painter, running a paint company, just anything to get out of that trailer park. Blue collar, hard-worker guy, changed his life. Never thought we’d be hit songwriters. We’re just in the studio. He’s in a paint outfit, dunked in paint, and I was like, ‘Man, I got this idea.’ We just started humming and messing with it.”

As soon as he recorded “Save Me,” Jelly Roll had an idea that it might be something special, but he still couldn’t have predicted what the song would do for him and his career.

“We wrote it right then, just me and him, laid it,” Jelly Roll remembers. “Right after I laid it, I sent it to my wife. She said, ‘This song is going to change your life.’ This happened on a Sunday. Monday I went back to the studio. We shot an in-studio performance video for it. Tuesday morning I hit upload. 48 hours after I wrote this song, it was on my YouTube channel. 72 hours after I wrote this song, it was at a million views.”

Jelly Roll later released “Save Me” again, this time on his Whitsitt Chapel album, with his good friend,  Lainey Wilson. The song, which became his third No. 1 hit, earned the pair numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Awards nomination and a recent ACM Award. His follow-up single, “Halfway to Hell,” the final release from Whitsitt Chapel, also hit No. 1. Jelly Roll is back with a new song, “I Am Not Okay,” the debut single from his next record.

“My sound has never fully favored the summer, so I think we’ll be coming out around fall … I do have a couple of fun songs on this album,” Jelly Roll hints on Audacy’s Katie & Company. “It was cool because I’m in a different headspace than I’ve ever been, so I was in a cool place to be able to write like that. I wrote most of my career from extreme, dark hopelessness, which I still write from, but I think this was like, I’ve had enough cool experiences. My music will always favor the fall.”

Jelly Roll will kick off his Beautifully Broken Tour on August 27. Find all of his music and upcoming shows at

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the CMA