North Georgia singer-songwriter Pony Bradshaw (James Bradshaw) studies and learns from his roots on the gripping "Dope Mountain," the latest release from his forthcoming album Calico Jim (out on Jan. 29).
Bradshaw says the song stemmed from a sense of devotion to community and the desire to grow in the region he calls home.
"'Dope Mountain' is about place, like most songs on the record, but also about embracing history. A family and a town's history. A history that often ends up being barbaric and depraved but also rich and fulfilling, even hopeful," Bradshaw tells Wide Open Country. "We tend to lack an active devotion to our communities and towns these days if they aren't precisely in line with our turn of mind. I don't believe you should run or hide from your history, or your family, or your town for that matter, if you expect or desire to gain understanding. If you do flee, you run the risk of missing out on the healthy reward that commitment, patience, and duty can afford. Maybe the reward is unmeasurable, or even abstract. I can't say for certain. But a moral and conscious practice of daily living is not always about being right or comfortable. We must suffer, too. Without suffering, we'd not be fully capable of reveling in our survival, in our good and satisfying works. Our lives are multi-layered, complex, and beautiful, no matter how seemingly simple and crude they may appear on the surface. As I've grown older I've become more of an advocate for staying put and digging in, for membership."
Listen to "Dope Mountain" below.
Calico Jim was recorded in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"We hunkered down for six days in a big, old gothic house near the Arkansas River, just a few miles from the studio," Bradshaw said in a press release. "Every evening before falling asleep, sapped from the laboring, I turned on the Andy Griffith Show, a program that settles the soul and readies it for a good night's rest."
Bradshaw released his debut album Sudden Opera (via Rounder Records) in 2019.