It’s been a meteoric rise to stardom for country music star Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord.
But even as his star shines bright, the singer has made time for his fans and to remember his past.
In the middle of 44-stop tour, DeFord visited the Douglas County Jail in Omaha, Nebraska to visit with inmates on the road to release, according to his Instagram.
“I’m really just here to tell you I love you, and I’ve been here in that seat,” DeFord said in an Instagram post.
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The singer was greeted with a round of applause by the group which included those in the Reentry Assistance Program. Many of whom are battling drug addiction and homelessness.
DeFord related to them with a haunted past and prison time. The Antioch native’s life took a detour in his 20s when he was arrested and served time for aggravated robbery and possession with intent to sell.
He credits fatherhood with giving him a purpose.
“This is the coolest thing we can do, this is awesome,” DeFord said.
Even as his star as Jelly Roll rises, DeFord said he still accepts collect calls from cellmates who may never see freedom.
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And thanks to DeFord, the audience was able to get a private concert where he sang his hit song “Need a favor,” which the singer said is among the most played songs in addiction recovery homes.
“I’ll never write a song in my career that will compare,” DeFord said.
Reach reporter Craig Shoup by email at email@example.com and on X @Craig_Shoup. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to www.tennessean.com.