Listen to Jason Isbell’s ‘Hope the High Road,’ the First Single From ‘The Nashville Sound’
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The track premiered at Entertainment Weekly, where he explained that the song, while not expressly political, shows the toll that our current divisive culture has had on us and our relationships. “I really wanted it to be something that was reflective of my own character as it is now. Now that I’m a father, now that I’m grown, now that I’m sober, now that I’m clearheaded,” he said. “I want [listeners] to feel encouraged to be vigilant but to still stay classy, for Christ’s sake. If you’re doing too much yelling and too much screaming and acting out of frustration, you’re not effecting change in any positive way.”
While much of the video features Isbell and the 400 Unit in the studio, its most striking recurring image — an tattered American flag — reinforces the nature of the lyrics. Isbell added that, as his former band the Drive-By Truckers did on last year’s American Band, The Nashville Sound sees him looking more at the state of the country, because that’s what’s first and foremost on his mind.
“I try to document where I am in my life and right now,” he continnued, “one of my primary concerns is, ‘What is my role as a white male in a society that really is in dire need of understanding and empathy for people who aren’t white males?’”
The album’s title stems from the nickname of Nashville’s RCA Studio B, where it and many classic country records were tracked. But the article noted that the record is Isbell’s most up-tempo and rocking to date, which he said wasn’t his intention when he started work on it.
“I don’t sit down to try to write rock ‘n’ roll songs,” he laughed. “I mean, I do sometimes, but that never works. The thing that works is to just write the best song that I can write and not f— it up when we record it.”
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