Jelly Roll Follows in the Footsteps of Cash and Haggard with Genesee County Jail Concert

It’s the jailhouse now for CMA Award Winner Jelly Roll. The musician is planning a concert for the inmates of Genessee County Jail in Michigan on December 5, according to Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Videos by American Songwriter

Jelly Roll Plans Concert for Inmates

Jelly Roll’s announcement conjures images of Johnny Cash and his numerous prison concerts. In total, Cash played concerts for around 30 prisons during his career, most notably San Quentin and Folsom Prison.

The musician decided to play at the jail after being in correspondence with Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson. Swanson is the founder of the I.G.N.I.T.E. program, which aims to help educate inmates and prevent future incarceration through learning.

Taking to social media, Jelly Roll opened about the concert. He said, “Here’s what I want to do. I want to come see you. I want a ride along, I want to go talk, I want to play some songs for some inmates if I’m allowed to. I’m on the way, baby. I want to see what I can do to help further.”

The musician seems to be a big fan of the sheriff’s department’s program. He had nothing but praise for the initiative, and its goal of rehabilitation. In many ways, Jelly Roll will be an inspiration for the inmates at the jail. While the act may be similar to the Man in Black’s playbook, Jelly Roll’s career trajectory has some similarities with Merle Haggard.

Jelly Roll on Jail Sentence

Like Haggard, Jelly Roll began his early life in and out of jail before finding a career in country music. Haggard was sentenced to 15 years at San Quentin for burglary. Meanwhile, Jelly Roll faced a potential 20 years in prison for aggravated robbery at the age of 16.

“I never want to overlook the fact that it was a heinous crime, 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.”

Though he ultimately only served a year, the musician would go to jail again at the age of 23 for selling drugs. While in jail, Jelly Roll said the birth of his daughter gave him the desire to change his life. While still incarcerated, he went and got his GED and hasn’t looked back since. He said, “I’ve never had nothing in life that urged me in the moment to know that I had to do something different. I have to figure this out right now.”

Jellyroll: (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images); Johnny Cash: (Photo by RB/Redferns); Haggard: (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Leave a Reply

3 Movies Every Country Music Fan Should See