Dartmouth Couple’s Chance Encounter With Jelly Roll
If you've been off the grid and out of touch for a while, the hottest thing in country music is an ex-con named Jelly Roll.
Jason Bradley "Jelly Roll" DeFord, born December 4, 1984, in Antioch, Tennessee, was recently named the Country Music Association's Best New Artist. He is also up for two Grammy Awards, to be handed out in Los Angeles in February.
Jelly Roll appeals to fans of several key music genres, including hip hop, country rap, country rock, Southern hip hop and country, but what is equally appealing to fans is Jelly Roll's personal story of adversity, mistakes (which cost him time in prison), redemption, and his climb to the top from rock bottom.
The Tennessean cites a recent post to Instagram in which Jelly Roll reacted emotionally to being nominated for a Grammy Award.
"The greatest honor an artist can ever hear is that they've been nominated for a Grammy – and I got to hear that this morning. I haven't cried like this since my daddy died," Jelly Roll wrote.
After being tried as an adult, a 16-year-old Jelly Roll, convicted of charges of aggravated robbery and dealing drugs, went to prison.
Since his release from jail, Jelly Roll has been on a roll. With his wife Bunnie DeFord (Bunnie XO) by his side, Jelly Roll has risen to the top. He commands attention.
So imagine the reaction when Jelly Roll showed up unannounced at Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row in Scottsdale, Arizona in September.
Dartmouth's Steven and Erica Richard, former Scottsdale residents, were in town for a golf outing and wandering into the bar for a drink and a few country tunes when in walked Jelly Roll.
"Guy did a whole ass mini-concert," Steven said.
"He also bought everyone a drink," Erica added. She said there was no announcement. "He just showed up."
Erica said Bunnie XO wasn't with her beloved Jelly Roll that night.
"No, she wasn't, at least I didn't see her – and she's hard to miss too!"
10 Things You Didn't Know About Jelly Roll
Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes