Navigating the occasional “Highway Nightmare,” both literally and figuratively, is inevitable, but as Adam Lytle conveys, the only direction to go is forward. The singer-songwriter specializes in navigating the darker regions of the mind and the heart, and he does so as skillfully as ever on this distinctive new single.
The song is off of his solo debut record, This is the Fire, a very significant moment in the career of Lytle as a musician and a songwriter, a man who has previously acted as the frontman for distinguished bands such as Quicksilver Daydream and Wild Leaves. This is his time to define himself, dazzling and impressing as a real wordsmith, conjuring up thoughts of other haunting solo acts like Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker.
“Highway Nightmare” is essentially about the road of life and how when you get caught up in the moment, you lose track of yourself, where you are situated, and what direction you are going in. With no exit or place to turn, you brave the road ahead, knowing full well that all you can do is proceed in the same direction you’ve been going in and hope for the best.
Dissecting the song for us, Lytle tells us:
“‘Highway Nightmare’ was an early attempt at what I call a ‘Ladder Song’ where lyrics can take on different meanings depending on whether they are connected with the preceding or following lines. For example, the first line in the second verse ‘blurred past’ can refer to the preceding line ‘acid dreams’ or the following line, ‘a milestone grave’ It can also stand alone as in, ‘a blurry memory of another time.’ All interpretations support the theme and the listener is invited to draw their own conclusions.”
As a specialist in words and lyricism, Lytle collaborated with arranger Trey Pollard to help him craft This is the Fire. Some really impressive orchestral arrangements on this record balance out well with Lytle’s strong and focused commentary. Through ten songs, he discusses serious topics like death, religion, violence, and love that are very pertinent to our current times.
Coming on October 20th, the album will feature a certain level of mystery, but within that, you will derive a lot of meaning from some of the most grounded songs you will hear in this era of music. Ultimately, Lytle would be quite pleased to have you dive in and explore these depths of life and living alongside him.
07/21 – Alphaville, Brooklyn, NY
07/25 – Northside Tavern, Cincinnati, OH
08/05 – Permanent Records, Los Angeles, CA