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Jelly Roll Talks Hiring Felons To Run His Food Truck

4 May 2023 | 11:45 am | Mallory Arbour

"Every other place in the world is like, 'If you got a felony, you can't work here.' We're only hiring felons."

(Image: Supplied)

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Speaking with Audacy at the CMA Awards last November, singer-songwriter Jelly Roll explained the origins of his Rolling With Jelly food truck, a partnership with his long-time friend, Jerry Gift Jr.

“It’s actually the coolest story ever and I’ve never got to tell it, so this is an exclusive,” Jelly Roll said. “One of my best friends from my neighbourhood, grew up with me, been in and out of jail, been through it all together. He came to me like, ‘I’m gonna start a food truck.’”

"Of course, we did it, and our mission statement was, we only hire second-chance guys," he added. "Every other place in the world is like, 'If you got a felony, you can't work here.' We're only hiring felons. They run the food truck and it comes out on tour with us some nights."

The food truck is bright yellow and features an illustration by Woodnbird Entertainment of Jelly Roll with his two middle fingers up. Behind him is a digital city landscape.

"It's the wildest thing ever. You see it comin'."

"They do everything from hot wings to 'Jelly Roll' jelly donuts," he continued. "They do, they call it 'Jelly-nade,' which is some real good lemonade. It's that diabetic lemonade, too. It's that from-my-neighborhood lemonade, Kool-Aid, it's really good stuff."

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The company has its own Instagram page at and people can email to try and book the truck for their events. According to an Instagram Story, they’re currently seeking a location in downtown Nashville.

Born and raised Jason DeFord in Nashville’s Antioch neighbourhood, he spent time in and out of jail before launching his music career. In a December interview, Jelly Roll revealed that he spent three-and-a-half-years at the juvenile detention centre as a teenager before being charged as an adult for a crime he committed in his youth. It is also the place he began making music.

Since 2010, the genre-bending singer-songwriter has released an impressive number of albums, EPs and projects and seen him collaborate with the likes of Lil Wyte, Struggle Jennings, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne and Ryan Upchurch, among others. His deeply personal lyrics and music blends old-school rap, classic rock, country and soul that is therapeutic, raw and tackles the heaviness in life.

2020 saw a paradigm shift (a word he uses frequently with good reason) in Jelly Roll’s career. He credits the release of Save Me from his Self Medicated album as the point in his career where he started to actually sing. 2021’s Ballads of the Broken album saw Son of a Sinner hit the hard rock and alternative songs chart and was most added song on country radio at its debut at the same time.

Jelly Roll recently took home all three of his CMT Music Award nominations – ‘Male Video of the Year’, ‘Breakthrough Male Video of the Year’ and ‘CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year’.

“They let a loser win tonight, baby,” Jelly Roll said when collecting his ‘Breakthrough Male Video of the Year’ trophy, “This is more than an award... this is for the underdogs, the losers and the have-nots. God takes the impossible and makes it look small.”

His forthcoming album WHITSITT CHAPEL drops on June 2.

“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 shared in a statement.


Keep up to date with Jelly Roll on his Facebook page here.