Jason Tyler Burton Announces Single, "High Road to Harlan"
“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, and is out for release June 24.
“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.
Kentuckian, the upcoming album from Jason Tyler Burton, narrows in on the complexities and nuances of Appalachian, rural life. People whose stories go untold or are misunderstood have a place of significance on Kentuckian, including stories of Burton’s own life that he collected while spending his formative years there. The name of the album represents how Burton identifies as a Kentuckian. Despite not being a born native of the state, he found most of himself there, and it is his most personal album to date. The characters in many of the songs on the album are unashamedly Kentuckians, and their pride is imminent. In songs like “Easy For Me,” “High Road to Harlan,” and “Date Night at the Dairy Queen,” he chronicles their rural lives in a way that breaks down the stereotypes and cliches that are presented in books, on the news, or the endless stream of pop country songs coming out of Nashville. The name, Kentuckian, also represents Burton’s struggle with his roots in Kentucky. It will always be a place he calls home, and yet there are so many things about it and its peoples that frustrate him. The album digs into that juxtaposition but also has allowed Burton to claim who he is and not run from it - like a true Kentuckian.
Kentuckian Track Listing:
- High Road to Harlan
- Date Night at the Dairy Queen
- Fires of ‘88
- Easy for Me
- Hillbilly’s Lament
- A New Colossus
- The Mayor
- Down Home
About Jason Tyler Burton:
Jason Tyler Burton is an Americana musician who was born in Michigan, grew up in Kentucky in the Appalachian foothills, and now lives in Wyoming at the base of the Wind River Range. He has come to embrace life as an outsider which seeps into his musical passions. His most recent albums, Headwaters (2014), and Lost Behind the Ranges (2017) are filled with songs that are amalgamations of stories gathered through his years on the road, traveling, working, and playing with bands such as the Union City All-Stars and 6 Foot 2. The faith in his home state has him working to articulate the stories of a people who take tremendous pride in where they are from and digging into the complexities of rural life in modern America in a way that is neither vilifying or glorifying. The result is his upcoming album, Kentuckian. Burton continues to take his music to new depths as he is set to play Red Ants Pants Music Festival in Montana the summer of 2019. Kentuckian is out for release in September.