Jelly Roll overcame so much to be where he is today. Few people go from being in jail, with a lengthy list of charges, to selling out Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, or embarking on a major tour, only a month after their debut album was released, but that’s exactly what Jelly Roll is doing.
The Tennessee native will begin his Backroad Baptism Tour on July 28, in support of his freshman Whitsitt Chapel album, joined by a rotating list of opening acts, including Ashley McBryde, Chase Rice, Struggle Jennings, Elle King and more — all artists who have already been making music for a lot longer than Jelly Roll. But for him, his purpose is much bigger than just selling out venues and performing in front of massive crowds. Instead, Jelly Roll wants to show others, others who struggle as he once did, that there is hope. He’s living proof.
“I feel like there are times I get to be a voice for the voiceless,” Jelly Roll tells Nashville Lifestyles. “And getting to perform live? You can feel the connection in the room. It’s palpable.”
Jelly Roll, who recently revealed that his career aspirations also include acting, isn’t willing to take much of the credit for being an inspiration to others. The “Save Me” singer acknowledges that his music can inspire them, but insists it’s their own fortitude and inner strength that helps them the most.
“Here’s the thing: I never denied the music helps, but I don’t want my fans to ever undermine how much they put in the work to fight their own demons,” Jelly Roll maintains. “I want my fans to give themselves credit for all they’ve overcome. Music meets you where you are. That’s what makes it so impactful and important.”
Still, no one is more eager than Jelly Roll to share his music, and his stories, with the world. The Backroad Baptism Tour is as much a way for him to connect with his fans as it is for fans to see him perform — and maybe more.
“It’s the biggest tour we’ve ever done, and the way the record is already performing live is a testament to the fans coming out and resonating with the music,” the 38-year-old says. “I think [the tour] is one of the places you really feel the impact of the music— seeing the fans, hearing their stories, and seeing the signs people make. They’re sharing a piece of their soul with us. I hope they leave feeling seen, heard, and like they’re not alone in their struggle.”
Jelly Roll sees his Backroad Baptism Tour less like a show people will pay money to see, and more like a chance for a meaningful connection between him and the crowd.
“Performing this music in front of the people that have been listening, streaming, requesting, downloading, and sharing it, that’s what I want to do,” Jelly Roll explains. “Bringing a community of people together that feel like they connect to the words I’ve written about what I’ve been through, or seen others continue to go through.”
Find Whitsitt Chapel and all of Jelly Roll’s music and upcoming shows at JellyRoll615.com