John Driskell Hopkins - 'Lonesome High'
Review by Ionas Finser & Staff
A gentle guitar arpeggio opens this tornado of a hit, as a world of dreamy effects bring us into the mind of the artist. Another riffing electric guitar completes the imagery of the song: driving down the highway towards your next gig, leaving those you love behind you.
A masterful use of catchy ostinatos in violin, guitar, and banjo parts brings this piece to the next level, while providing effective countermelodies to JDH’s rich, satisfying voice. The chorus brings us a burst of vibrant color and texture, complete with upbeat percussion and grand background vocals.
Lyrically, “Lonesome High” deals with the conflict between doing what you love and being with who you love. John Driskell Hopkins sings of his experiences touring around the world and missing his family. While touring is exciting, nothing seems quite right without the ones the artist loves the most. The message is reminiscent of relatable experiences, and ultimately heartwarming and enjoyable.
“There’s always some new town I’ll be rolling through. And it don’t matter where I go, It feels further from you”
Once you listen to this song, life will feel like a ‘lonesome high’ until you play it again. Hopkins’ has unlocked the secret to creating catchy hits that drip with emotion and passion, and in doing so seals his fate as a superstar.
“Lonesome High” reminds us of the importance of family and true values as human beings who often get lost in blind ambition and wanderlust. Add it to all of your playlists, relax, and let JDH take you to on a journey through your own emotions, thoughts, and aspirations.
About John Driskell Hopkins
The musical career of JOHN DRISKELL HOPKINS spans more than 20 years. As a member of several rock bands, Hopkins first rooted himself in the Atlanta music scene in 1995 — but he is most well-known as a founding member, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter of the GRAMMY Award-winning Zac Brown Band.
Hopkins became a founding member of the Zac Brown Band (ZBB) in 2005 as a bass player and has enjoyed engineering and songwriting credits on hit songs including “Toes,” “It’s Not OK,” and “Sic Em On A Chicken,” from the triple-platinum selling record The Foundation, as well as “Nothing,” “I Play The Road,” and “Settle Me Down,” from the platinum selling record, You Get What You Give. Hopkins also co-wrote the second single from the Zac Brown Band’s third platinum album, Uncaged, entitled “Goodbye in Her Eyes” — which was the group’s ninth Billboard No. 1 single. Hopkins met Zac Brown while hosting an open mic night at the Atlanta. Over the next several years, they remained friends and with Hopkins lending a production hand, they released the first Zac Brown album, Home Grown, in 2004.
As ZBB continues to garner critical and public success through numerous awards — including three GRAMMY Awards — Hopkins continues to share the spotlight on stage with his band of fellow songwriters and friends. He has added the title of multi-instrumentalist to his ZBB resume, playing Banjo on the single “Homegrown,’’ which became their 11th No. 1 hit on the Billboard country charts in March 2015, from the album Jekyll and Hyde. Hopkins is also a contributing writer on that album’s second single, “Heavy Is The Head” featuring Chris Cornell, which debuted at No. 37 on Billboard mainstream rock chart — marking their first appearance on that chart. The band played both singles as musical guests on “Saturday Night Live” on March 7, 2015.
In 2019, the film “Adolescence” was released, directed by Ashley Avi. Hopkins plays the role of guitarist/sing “Spider," alongside Tommy Flannagan (“Sons of Anarchy”) as a member of The Bloody Wolves of Venice — a rock band created for the film which plays original music created and sung by Hopkins. A hard rock EP of this music was released in January 2019. Hopkins can also be seen and heard in the 2015 internationally-released film “Careful What You Wish For,” featuring Nick Jonas, Paul Sorvin and Dermot Mulroney, produced by Elizabeth Allen. Having always been heavily involved in theatre throughout high school, he graduated from Florida State University with a degree in General Theatre.
In 2015, Hopkins was elected as an advisor to the Recording Academy, Atlanta ChapteMarchr, and was subsequently voted in to a Governor Seat for two consecutive terms from 2015-2019. In 2019, he became a National Trustee for The Recording Academy and will hold that office until 2021.
In late summer, 2015, Hopkins fulfilled a dream when he collaborated with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra on a Christmas album entitled, In The Spirit: A Celebration of the Holidays. Featuring 12 tracks of timeless holiday tunes, the album features soaring arrangements and wonderful special guests such as the Indigo Girls, Balsam Range, and actress/singer extraordinaire Laura Bell Bundy. The album was released in November 2015, and a vinyl edition was released in 2016.
In 2017, Hopkins released his second holiday album, You Better Watch Out, a collaboration with The Joe Gransden Big Band featuring special guests including: Aoife O’Donovan, Bela Fleck, and Clay Cook and Daniel de los Reyes (of the Zac Brown Band). His third holiday album, entitled Our Finest Gifts, was released in November 2019 — this time he collaborated with ATL Collective, and it features special guests including: Trombone Shorty, Ruby Velle, Dionne Farris, David Ryan Harris, Jason Eskridge and Maureen Murphy.
When he’s not touring, Hopkins works out of his Brighter Shade Studios songwriting and producing a growing crop of talent. Hop continues to perform at music festivals and venues across the country with his original six-piece band, The John Driskell Hopkins Band, which includes: Mike Rizzi on drums/vocals; Sean McIntyre on bass/vocals; Leah Calvert on fiddle/vocals; Greg Earnest on banjo; and Brian Bisky on keyboard/vocals. There are 11 episodes available of Hopkins’ ongoing Podcast, “Under The Influence with John Driskell Hopkins” on iTunes — most of which were recorded while on the road with other bandmates or fellow tourmates. Another favorite activity is taking his Harley out for a lap of the city du jour.
Hopkins shares his life, on and off the road, with his amazing wife and three beautiful daughters.
For more information, please visit John Driskell Hopkin's website.
This music review was brought to you by BWH Music Group.