Shawna Virago Gets You Lifted on “High Road no. 6”
The most immediately notable thing about “High Road No. 6”, the latest single and video from Shawna Virago, is the guitar. Electric, with more than a hint of countrified twang, its got a down home, dusty, backwoods type feel that sets the tone for the rest of the track.
To be perfectly honest, this sort of ditty was likely sung ever since guitars turned electric, if not well before that. It’s got a relatively modest tempo, accentuated by a heavy-handed bass that marks the chord progression of the said guitar work.
There’s perhaps a smattering of percussion, there could very well be a single kick to end the ode during a fantastic finale in which the musician treats you to a seemingly spontaneous, a capella guitar performance. But other than that there’s just the vocals, that omnipresent strumming, and a whirlwind of south of the Dixie line sentiment working overtime.
Virago sings with an extremely thick country accent, the type that’s only heard in movies when someone’s articulating some southern fried quip or apothegm indicating various aspects of charm. The piece is punctuated with a stilling of his favorite instrument (and bass) during pivotal points in the narrative, often times heralding transitions between the different progressions on display.
But in the meantime, the artist kicks a few maxims worthy of the aforementioned accent while trying to decide, for instance, “what’s worse/ a country jail or a country church”. Sounds like six one way and half dozen the other, right?
But as previously alluded to, the musician’s showmanship on the lead guitar is certainly the standing attraction on this one. Deft, with a speed that seemingly belies the tempo of the tune, it curls, curves, and bends notes to push you along like the gentle passing of the sea.
You’ve got to hear it in all its southern splendor to truly appreciate it, and its driving force behind this number that is timeless in its aesthetic, and possibly timely in its message.