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Hope the High Road by Jason Isbell

I’ve been very impressed by Jason Isbell’s last two albums; 2013’s Southeastern and 2015’s Something More Than Free. After sobering up, he’s fulfilling his potential as a great songwriter. After two albums of heartfelt, acoustic country, Isbell plugged his electric guitar back in for 2017’s The Nashville Sound and its first single ‘Hope the High Road’.

Despite hailing from Alabama, in the Bible Belt, Jason Isbell has been vocal as a critic of president Donald Trump. But ‘Hope the High Road’ doesn’t dwell on frustration, it’s a song of hope and reconciliation. With sentiments like these:

But I ain’t fighting with you down in a ditch
I’ll meet you up here on the road

Not for the first time in his career, Isbell invites comparisons with Bruce Springsteen, which isn’t a bad measuring stick for a talented songwriter building his career. Although admittedly the video does troll Trump a little; look out for Isbell’s wife, Amanda Shires, in a “Nasty Woman” t-shirt.

I used to think that this was my town
What a stupid thing to think
I hear you’re fighting off a breakdown
I myself am on the brink
I used to want to be a real man
I don’t know what that even means
Now I just want you in my arms again
And we can search each other’s dreams

I know you’re tired
And you ain’t sleeping well
Uninspired
And likely mad as hell
But wherever you are
I hope the high road leads you home again

I’ve heard enough of the white man’s blues
I’ve sang enough about myself
So if you’re looking for some bad news
You can find it somewhere else
Last year was a son of a bitch
For nearly everyone we know
But I ain’t fighting with you down in a ditch
I’ll meet you up here on the road

I know you’re tired
And you ain’t sleeping well
Uninspired
And likely mad as hell
But wherever you are
I hope the high road leads you home again
To a world you want to live in

We’ll ride the ship down
Dumping buckets overboard
There can’t be more of them than us
There can’t be more

I know you’re tired
And you ain’t sleeping well
Uninspired
And likely mad as hell
But wherever you are
I hope the high road leads you home again
To a world you want to live in
To a world you want to live in

5 thoughts on “Hope the High Road by Jason Isbell Leave a comment

  1. That’s a great piece of angry Americana! The way this country is so divided right now, there’s going to be lots of political music coming out in the next four years I think. But if that song leads the way, it’s a strong start. Thanks for the intro

    Liked by 3 people

  2. His recent stuff has been pretty brilliant (Southeastern being one of my favourite alternative country albums from the last few years) and this one has really impressed me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been checking out Sturgill Simpson thanks to your recommendations (you can see him on the album collage on my site’s front page). What other recent alt-country stuff is good?

      Like

      • Excellent! Hope you’re enjoying Sturgill (particularly those first two albums). Some other great alt-country stuff worth checking out would be Israel Nash (his stuff is really great – natural Neil Young comparisons, but there’s more than a splash of that cosmic Americana). Zephaniah Ohora is a recent discovery and I’ve been really getting back into Glossary (The Better Angels of Our Nature is an good few years old now, but exceptional).

        Liked by 1 person

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