“High Road To Harlan”, the new single from Americana musician and songwriter, Jason Tyler Burton, tells a surreal and chilling story from the perspective of an 85-year old Appalachian man raised in a Kentucky coal camp. The single steps into his mind as he reflects on everything he’s seen in his years, watching the destruction of the community and the terrain wash away with history. “High Road to Harlan” is the first single off of the upcoming album, Kentuckian. Listen here
“High Road To Harlan” quivers with sentiment and the frustration of being raised in a place that has felt forgotten by the rest of the world. In Pineville Kentucky, hardships have buried themselves within the city time after time, yet, the people stay hopeful and proud. The suffering of Appalachian people in rural Kentucky may be told by Burton in his crooning voice but it’s on behalf of each and every member who still holds onto hope for their hometown. Struggle persists in the aftermath of major coal companies coming in and out and taking the wealth of the region with them. Poverty drives people to develop opioid addictions. Mountaintop removal increases erosion and sediment loads in the river.
Despite being left with what feels like nothing, devotion and admiration beat strongly in the hearts of the Appalachian people, and they want things to get better. Burton sings, “Soon I’ll take the high road to Harlan / Climb up on Pine Mountain to see the old growth that remains / Reminding me there are things that I still love here / Reminding me there are things we still might save.” Rich vocal melodies amplify every emotion as trembling violin swells with aching passion.