The lead single from Cimarron 615’s acclaimed debut album Brand New Distance, “High Lonesome Stranger” laments talented but troubled lives cut tragically short. Inspired by the premature passings of Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers legend Gram Parsons at age 26 and country superstar Hank Williams at 29, it was co-written by Cimarron 615 drummer Rick Lonow (himself a former Burrito Brother).
“Although we don’t really come right out and say it, we were talking about Gram Parsons and Hank Williams Sr.,” said Lonow, who wrote “High Lonesome Stranger” with Mike Alan Ward (Dierks Bentley, Faith Hill) back in the 1990s. “I thought that it would be very appropriate for Cimarron 615, as it also has a bit of a Poco flavor.”
Soaked in cinematic bluegrass harmonies, with a lead vocal shared between Lonow and bassist Jack Sundrud, “High Lonesome Stranger” is a refreshing take on timeless, narrative country rock embroidered with exquisite instrumental performances. While its inspiration is quite specific, the song – like all great art – has a universal resonance.
“‘High Lonesome Stranger’ is a big story, but I hope that it’s also written so that it has a lot of room for interpretation,” Lonow explained. “I’m hoping that all the stories on Brand New Distance will be there for everyone.”