Song You Need to Know: Cordovas, 'High Feeling'

Nashville foursome the Cordovas dial up the Flying Burrito Brothers vibes for “High Feeling,” the intoxicating leadoff track of their latest album Destiny Hotel. It’s breezy and wistful, summoning the anything-is-possible outlook of a vision quest in the desert. And for good reason: the band wrote the song in the striking expanses of Todos Santos, Mexico, while boning up on the works of the mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Neither a pandemic nor this week’s high-stakes election drama was on their minds then, but “High Feeling” can’t help but feel tailored to the moment. “Riding out the storm waiting on the sun/till the sky clears up and the all the rain is done,” sings the Cordovas’ Joe Firstman over tinkling piano and a soft, shuffling rhythm.

Firstman and his bandmates aren’t passively waiting for that brighter day; rather, like Campbell’s hero archetype, they’re actively searching for ways to expand their worldview. “Open up your heart, let love come through the door/open up your mind, that’s what it’s for,” Firstman preaches. Sure, it’s a bit hippy-dippy of a sentiment, but the message reinforces how simple personal change or growth can often be. (Such a transformation was essential to the journey of Campbell’s hero.)

Musically, “High Feeling” undergoes its own change, evolving from a primordial organ intro into a fully formed sing-along chorus. By song’s end, it circles back to the organ chord, tying it all together and completing the journey.

“That’s us telling you directly what to do,” Fristman said of the song in a statement. “And hopefully in a way that’s more like Bob Marley than some New Age guy who thinks he’s saving the world because he’s so in tune.”

Right on, man.

Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.

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