I wrote "Road Rising" about the feeling of restlessness I had for most of high school, which I attended in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I used to make trips down to Charleston pretty often by myself to visit friends, and driving alone was (and to some degree still is) the only thing that made me feel like I was going anywhere. I learned how to sing the way I do now on those trips too; I sang along at an ear-blistering volume with Jeff Buckley, Soundgarden, Nirvana, No Doubt, whoever was on the CD player at the time. Before that, I had only sung in church choirs or chorus in high school, both of which aren't the greatest places to develop a rock style of singing.
I was raised in a conservative Christian home and never rebelled much against my parents until after high school, so I generally experienced a lot of pent-up anger and anxiety regarding the rules I had to follow but didn't understand or agree with. I knew I wanted more out of my life than what I saw around me in the suburban South; I wanted to somehow transcend mediocrity and do something great but wasn't sure how to get there. Driving the 1.5 hours from Myrtle to Charleston always gave me a sense of going somewhere and doing something and, for some reason, assured me that I would one day break out of the backwardness and stagnancy of where I grew up to find my own way.
Although I did one day figure out what it was I wanted from life, I went through many years of doing what I thought I "should" do rather than what I wanted to do. I put so many of my dreams on hold for other people and for some sort of ideal that never really delivered. I hit a breaking point in 2009 and decided to pursue what has always made me happiest in my life: music. "Road Rising" was written then and encapsulates the feeling I had both in high school and later on of wanting more out of life and pouring all of myself into my vision so I could finally get where I wanted to be.