Song Premiere: John Fullbright’s “High Road”

photo by Vicki Farmer/Shore Fire Media

Here’s a preview of John Fullbright’s “High Road,” from the 26-year-old Oklahoma native’s forthcoming album Songs. In the past couple of years, John has risen to the upper echelons of Americana music, earning Grammy nomination with his debut album, From the Ground Up.

In the mournful, mostly acoustic “High Road,” we are introduced to a young couple who marry and try to build a life together. According to John, he wrote the story when he was 18. “I get about halfway through the song and I realize there’s no conflict so I decided that somebody was gonna die,” he says, laughing. “I remember vividly that the sun was going down and I was outside at the time and I thought I gotta wrap this up before the sun goes down.” The chorus references the Scottish song “Loch Lomond,” and the tragic conclusion is delivered with such emotive force from John that you’ll be choking back your own tears.

Strangely, even though the story was made up, John had a real-life encounter at a festival in Cherokee, Texas, that mirrored what he wrote. The man running the festival asked him to play “High Road” because he had purchased his land from an old woman who lived the song. “She went through every single thing that happened in that song. She never married again and she sold that land to that guy. There’s a handful of things in my life that have happened to me that I can make no sense of, and that’s one them. That goes in the X-file cabinet in my brain, like, don’t even try to figure that out.”

Songs is out in stores on May 27.

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