Our journeys are much the same.
We've all got "broken dreams on a lost highway," as West Virginia native David Morris tells it. His single "Pretty Rider" (out now) marries the slow-rollin' country-rock style of the '70s (think: The Eagles) with a glossy modern veneer and depicts the story of a young woman who turns to the open road to medicate her unease, a longing for something bigger and brighter. "You can't go home at night, so you just ride," Morris sings, piano and drums tumbling beneath his thick gravelly tenor.
In the accompanying visual, premiering exclusively today, Morris hops a ride with the fellow tumbleweed, played by Miranda Harrison, and the two revel in the sweet, sunny Arizona landscape. Morris tells Popdust, "The song is about a girl who gets in her car and just drives. It's her safe space. Somewhere she can be alone and clear her head."
With director Jakob Owens (known for his work with Jesse McCartney, Lincoln Jesser and others) at the helm, the video is shiny but carries a classic, hazy filter. On his way across the scorching desert, Morris' car breaks down, and fate sends Harrison into his path, and thus a new beginning is born.
On the second verse, he muses, "I wanna know what happened to that spark in your eyes / They used to light up the streets at night." The breezy road ditty possesses an unshakable tension, juxtaposed with the production's lilting shimmer and elevated by the gentle rumble of the motor on dirt and concrete. It's both intimately personal and largely universal, tapping into the uncertainty of growing older and feeling the pressure of society.
"I feel like a lot of people feel that way. I wanted the video to simply be a 'moment' in time. A snapshot of her story," Morris explains. "Her letting someone in, but never letting them get too close. She was on her own journey before and she's still on it now. Looking for something that makes her feel alive."
Shot "gorilla style," Morris and crew hung "outside of car windows to get certain shots" and just popped up on location, unannounced. It's a thrilling excursion and embodies the song's innate free-wheeling spirit.
After taking a bit of a hiatus from music-making, Morris returned with a cannonball-style splash with 2017's "Settle Down." In its music video, filmed in and around his home state, he celebrates his roots. "Where I'm from is beautiful, nostalgic, wild and wonderful. It can be depressing and stagnant, too, but above all, it's resilient and proud. It has its problems, but it has my heart," he wrote.
Morris is currently working on his new EP, tentatively expected later this year.
Jason Scotty is a freelance music journalist with bylines in Billboard, PopCrush, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.
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