The High Line Riders reunion heralds one of the most exciting new rock releases of the year. Fans have been begging for a new band record since 1997's "Somewhere South of Here" and the new album Bumping Into Nothing, obliges with signature hooks, driving rhythm section and outstanding writing. Out April 2015, Bumping is the follow up record that fans have been waiting for, raising the bar on sophistication while still delivering on the thrill of a band that loves to make music together.
The High Line Riders are lead singer and guitarist Ed Pettersen, drummer Mike Bailey, guitarist Gary Goodlow and newest member bassist Kevin Hornback. The band first burst onto the scene in the nineties with a worldwide jukebox and dance hit DWIOU (Driving While Intoxicated On You) and was in the vanguard of the alt country movement alongside bands such as the Jayhawks, The Bottlerockets, and Whiskeytown. Other opportunities, including a career as a producer and songwriter for Pettersen, took the band in differing directions. But the core members always left the door open for when the time and the songs were right to reunite.
As a concept album Bumping into Nothing touches on themes of addiction and struggles with personal demons in a very personal way. The songs Holding Pattern, I Don’t Think About When You Were Mine (with BR549’s Chuck Mead on backing vocals) and I Hope You’re Happy Now are tongue in cheek homages to failed relationships, but the lyrics easily remind us of other passages in life. As a songwriter Pettersen’s greatest gift is for revealing “the little truths” that connect universally with each listener. playing back their own story. Every Time it Rains (featuring Freedy Johnston on backing vocals) is a perfect example, a guitar fueled, anguished recital of the 2010 Nashville flood which perfectly captures the reality of post-traumatic stress syndrome. The protagonist, who once took comfort in storms, wakes up every time it starts raining and can’t sleep until it’s over. One of the more raucous songs on the album is Pettersen’s tribute to his longtime sweetheart Janey, a band favorite and as close to a primal scream as a pop/rock song can be.
The tautness of the narrative combined with its conversational tone carry us smoothly through recognition, revelation, transcendence and liberation. Never has a band told us so eloquently to deal with your problems, don’t hold on to what’s not meant to be, scream about it once and a while, and find someone to love. In one respect the record harkens back to the days of yore when records made statements and begged you to listen to them in their entirety, not as piecemeal. Bumping Into Nothing - Get it, listen to it, love it, and make it your own.
****The newest album "Walking Home" came out March 9, 2018 and U.S. fans can purchase it at Bandcamp as well as iTunes and Amazon among other online services. (In Europe it's again available via Blue Rose): https://edpettersen.bandcamp.com/album/walking-home
For European fans here's the Blue Rose website where vinyl is also available: http://bluerose-records.com/artists/?artist=5695