Roots singer-songwriter Billy Woodward released his new single “Heartworn Hopeless Highway” on April 22 in anticipation of his upcoming LP The Boy From The Bay. Tinged in poignance, the track details an odyssey in which the listener can picture the character at hand sojourning through life as he oscillates between finding light or wallowing in the darkness. Drawing from compelling inspiration everywhere, including his own story, Woodward explains that what took shape was a “biopic narrative of sorts.”
The song, he says, is “my way of sorting how I felt walking and talking as if things [were] okay when, in fact, they were anything but.” He goes on to share the intense sense of loss and loneliness he felt years ago in the face of grief, and how in spite of trying to run from it, it seemed to “stick to [him] like tar” and “swallow [him] whole.”
Although the record acted as personal “therapy” for Woodward as he attempted to “find clarity, meaning or even just some closure” from his own past, his storytelling affords relatability to all with its poetic open-endedness. Lyrically, “Heartworn Hopeless Highway” serves as an authentic reflection of all of us and the daily striving to choose strength amidst hardship. In this way, and despite its gritty, contemplative and melancholic instrumentation, the song is inevitably about one thing: resilience.
“Somehow I kept singing, as them stars came tumbling down. Digging up dirt from my cold cold ground,” Woodward sings. He explains that the record is a reminder that “no one can force your hand to help yourself,” but once that “voluntary action” is taken one can begin to “bear the burden and hopefully push through into a state of acceptance and strength.” Adding, “‘Heartworn Hopeless Highway’ is ultimately about the hope of redemption in the face of tragedy and the honesty it takes to achieve it.”