Music

Song Premiere: Alan Barnosky Suggests Abandoning Comfort Zones With 'Lonesome Road'

Mick Schulte

North Carolina-based flatpicking guitarist and troubadour Alan Barnosky builds on the name he made for himself off the 2017 album Old Freight with the Jan. 17 release of his Lonesome Road EP.

Today, Wide Open Country premieres EP title track "Lonesome Road," an adventurous bluegrass tune accompanied by Barnosky's hospitable, high-country vocals.

"Throughout the year I carve out time for backpacking or bike touring or some other outdoor travel," Barnosky says of the song's origins. "The experience is thrilling and peaceful and the memories are vivid. It allows me a chance to recharge, to let go of baggage, and to confidently enter back into daily life with a clearer view of the big picture.

"'Lonesome Road' was written after returning from my first long trip, a two-month solo bicycle tour in the Blue Ridge," he continues. "I had undergone some big changes and struggles at the time and the trip restored my sense of independence, confidence and purpose. While I understand that being outdoors for days or weeks at a time is not for everyone, I think we all have our own 'Lonesome Road' in one shape or another. We can sometimes find ourselves in tough circumstances, where the only thing holding us back is fear of the unknown. 'Lonesome Road' suggests exploring that unknown. The road might be daunting, but it just might be worth it."

Common-sense lyrics and solo tradeoffs between instruments make for a song that could've been written or reinterpreted ages ago by many of Barnosky's singer-songwriter heroes.

"'Lonesome Road' is the most standard bluegrass sounding song on the EP, which is fitting because many of the lyrics reference back to traditional songs," he explains. "The title itself is a well-worn phrase that has been used many times over - like the standard 'Lonesome Road Blues,' the old-time song 'Fall On My Knees,' Bob Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice' and countless others. Other phrases in the song recount common bluegrass sayings, like 'where the mountains meet the sky' and 'old home place.' Weary traveling is a typical theme in folk music as well. I incorporate these lyrics and themes in the song out of respect for the tradition and acknowledgment of its influence on my songwriting and musical style."

Glide best summed up Barnosky when describing EP cut "Might Be a Call" as "a riveting composition of Appalachia and heartfelt folk" comparable to the music of Ralph Stanley and David Rawlings."

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Song Premiere: Alan Barnosky Suggests Abandoning Comfort Zones With 'Lonesome Road'