Jason Isbell’s Riveting ‘Hope The High Road’ Performance On ‘Colbert’ Argues For Dignity Over Despair

Managing Editor, Music
06.21.17

Jason Isbell’s excellent new record The Nashville Sound came out last week, and it’s full of excellent, driving heartland rock — more Springsteen than Merle, but there’s hints of both. If either of those artists appeal to you, you should definitely listen to it, and also read the great interview Steven Hyden did with Isbell. In that conversation, they discuss the song Isbell and his band The 400 Unit did on Colbert last night in what was a riveting late night performance.

It’s called “Hope The High Road,” and according to Isbell, it’s a song that’s deeply inspired by the current state of America, and what we’ve lost since the election last year:

“That dignity and decorum, and that idea of being a decent person, seems to have sort of slipped. It’s not gone by the way side completely. It seems like it’s just not quite as popular to be decent. That song deals with that. We can disagree, you can fucking try to start a revolution if you want to, but you have to do it with some decency.”

“I know you’re tired and you ain’t sleeping well / Uninspired, and probably mad as hell,” he sings on the chorus. “But wherever you are, I hope the high road leads you home again, to a world you wanna live in.”

Amen to that, it definitely resonates with me, especially later on when he goes “If you’re looking for some bad news, you can find it somewhere else.” Part of joy is choosing it, no matter what else is going on around you, and looking for the good news in your own daily life. Isbell has always been a proponent of that choice. “There can’t be more of them than us,” he sings. And I believe him. Watch it above.

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