Alessandro Santoro

Song Premiere: Hayes Peebles' Twangy Ode to the Road, 'Riding High'


New York native Hayes Peebles honors classic country's affinity for road anthems on "Riding High." The dreamy ode to white lines and rural landscapes finds Peebles heeding the call to keep rolling on.

"'Riding High' is a song I wrote on the road and for the road," Peebles tells Wide Open Country. "It was February 2018 and I had just run out of money and energy and moved all of my shit into my parents' basement for who knows how long. I was spending most of my time down there writing and cutting demos and pretty fruitlessly sending around my songs. For the first time in a long time I had space and quiet and time but I wasn't finding very much to say. Sitting around in the dark trying to force it isn't a good time. I got a little frantic and started booking shows as far and wide as I could."

Peebles says the song was inspired by what started out as a less than glamorous road trip and turned out to be just the change of pace he needed.

"A few days before my first show, a showcase in Nashville, I caught some nasty flu but decided to drive down to Tennessee in spite of it. So I found myself in my mother's car with no voice on a 15 hour solo drive, passenger seat covered in tissues and tablets and Dayquil to keep moving toward some place I'd never been. I joked around with myself that I was the king of the road, that I had the key to the highway, that I was riding high. After a while I guess I started to internalize all those clichés, and by the time I made it south of D.C., I was fully committed to playing the role," Peebles says. "The next morning I woke up to news of big storms in the northeast. I was coughing up some gross shit into a sink in a Motel 6 in Roanoke, Virginia but I was feeling better than the day before and was happy to not be battered by rain in a place with no power- I was the king of the road. My flu started to fade and some sun came out and by then I was cruising down I40W through some beautiful mountains. The lyrics wrote themselves on that stretch. I finished all of the melodies and guitar parts over the course of the next few nights in a hostel in North Nashville, and I put all of the pieces together when I got back to New York. All of those pieces added up to 'Riding High.'"

Listen to "Riding High" below.

Hayes Peebles will perform at Brooklyn's Union Pool on Tuesday, July 23.

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