From Dreams To Reality: Jelly Roll Shares Gratitude For Fans Amid ‘Unreal’ Backroad Baptism Tour

“I would’ve never dreamed back then that I would one day be headlining these same amphitheaters around America,” Jelly Roll shared.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

August 31, 2023

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Jelly Roll performs at the VIP Stage at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 9 during CMA Fest 2023 in downtown Nashville; Photo Courtesy CMA

Jelly Roll recently took a moment to reflect on his wildly successful Backroad Baptism Tour, and admitted the trek is a dream come true for him. 

This is the first time he’s spoken out on the remarkable success of his first-ever headlining arena and amphitheater tour as it’s taken him a while to collect his thoughts. 

Since launching on July 28, the 38-year-old singer/songwriter has performed a whopping 21 sold-out shows and it is anticipated that the remainder of the 44-date trek will follow suit. 

Dream Come True Moments

Jelly Roll; Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA
Jelly Roll; Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

On Monday (Aug. 28), the “NEED A FAVOR” singer took to Instagram to share why this tour means so much to him as he reflected on spending his childhood years dreaming of having a career in music as he watched artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, The Eagles, and more perform at Starwood Amphitheater in Antioch, Tennessee.   

Reflects On Childhood

Jelly Roll recalled tailgating with his friends outside of his hometown amphitheater and shared his disbelief over the fact that he now gets to headline amphitheaters across the country.  

“We would go early and hang out in the parking lot with other fans while they grilled and pre gamed- we would slide down the mud on the hill of the Lawn when it would rain- we would party in the parking lot after the show while waiting for traffic to slow down. Some of my greatest childhood memories are on the lawn of that amphitheater,” he shared. 

He then admitted that he “never dreamed” that his life would turn out the way that it has. 

Message Filled With Gratitude

“Every night I look out in the crowd and I remember music transforming my life in those same bleachers and lawns,” he wrote. 

He closed his gratitude-filled post with a message to his fans. 

“This tour has been nothing short of UNREAL so far. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and get emotional on stage almost every night. Looking at out at 10s of THOUSANDS of people singing along and living in the moment. I get off stage every night feeling hopeful like I just left a good Sunday service on a backroad in Tennessee,” he continued. “I hope y’all are feeling the same when you leave the show as well. Thank y’all for making this tour what it has been so far….I do not take this for granted for a single second.” 

Jelly Roll; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Jelly Roll; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

His Biggest Tour Yet

In a previous interview with Nashville Lifestyles, the Tennessee native said he enjoys seeing how his new album is already resonating with fans across the United States. 

“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,” Jelly Roll previously told  “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.”

He also showcased his appreciation for fans taking the time to come see his show during an interview with CMT.

“That’s 550,000 stories. That’s 550,000 people that felt impacted enough by me that they not only bought a ticket, they found a babysitter, and they drove to the show. They overpaid for parking,” he graciously shared. “They paid too much for drinking. People probably drove in from hours outside of these towns. That’s somebody’s wife getting ready for date night.”

“I went and [saw] eight buses,” Jelly Roll continued. “I saw eight wrapped semi-trailer trucks. It just instantly becomes different. You’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ I’ve been talking about this in such a casual way that I may have even forgotten how mega this is … We’ve almost sold out. It’s a half a million people. Less than half a million people lived in Nashville when I grew up. That’d be like the entire city of Nashville.”

Tour Underway

Jelly Roll’s Backroad Baptism Tour kicked off on Friday, July 28, and runs through Saturday, October 14, where the trek will wrap up in Tampa, Florida at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Ashley McBryde, Caitlynne Curtis, Chase Rice, Elle King, Merkules, Struggle Jennings, Three 6 Mafia, and Yelawolf will appear as special guests on select dates of the nearly sold-out tour.

The tour comes in support of Jelly Roll’s new album, WHITSITT CHAPEL, which arrived on June 2. The project, named after the church the Antioch native grew up attending, debuted at No.2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and in the Top 3 on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart with 90,000 album equivalents.

“This album is about growth and gratitude happening in my life. I wanted to create a project that felt hopeful. I believe the worst feeling a person can have is feeling hopeless or worthless. This is therapeutic music. Real music for real people with real problems,” Jelly Roll previously shared in a statement.

The 13-track release includes his latest multi-week chart-topper, “NEED A FAVOR,” and his brand-new single, “Save Me” with Lainey Wilson

YouTube video

WHITSITT CHAPEL also includes three collaborations. Brantley Gilbert and Struggle Jennings joined Jelly Roll on “Behind Bars” and Yelawolf is featured on “Unlive,” while Lainey Wilson teamed up with the 38-year-old hitmaker to recreate his fan-favorite tune, “Save Me.”

Jelly Roll, whose real name is Jason DeFord, will also serve as support on several dates of Eric Church’s The Outsiders Revival Tour.

For a full list of tour dates and additional information on Jelly Roll, visit his official website HERE.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.