Highway 95 talk new single ‘Can’t Fix With A Rose’ and music’s transformative power

‘Can’t Fix With A Rose’, the latest single from country-rock duo Highway 95, goes beyond just plain good music. 

The track, released by the WA pair last week, pairs its effortless folksy warmth with an incisive and timely message around domestic violence and its enduring effects; standing as a testament to music as a force for change. 

Below, Highway 95 duo Bob Derschow and Nicole Bylund swing by Happy for a deep dive into their new track, its genesis, and its role in “helping someone who might be going through some hard times.”

Highway 95 interview

Catch our full interview with Highway 95 below, and scroll down to listen to their new single ‘Can’t Fix With A Rose’.    

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

HIGHWAY 95: Right now, we’re gearing up for our performances in Port Hedland and Newman (15/16th June) at the Red Country Music Festival, where the legendary Lee Kernaghan is headlining.

It’s a major thrill for us! Additionally, we’re eyeing a trip down to Perth in November/December to lay down some fresh new original tracks.

HAPPY: Tell us a little about where you live, what do you love about it?

HIGHWAY 95: We call Karratha home, right in the heart of the Pilbara Mining Region in Western Australia. Personally, we love Karratha’s strong community spirit.

Since we formed Highway 95, we have been blown away by the extraordinary amount of support and encouragement that we have received from the local community, local businesses and our amazing family and friends.

Highway 95 interview

HAPPY: How did you two come together to form Highway 95? What inspired you to start making music as a duo?

HIGHWAY 95: We’ve got quite a background in cover bands, spanning about 20-30 years each.

Bob’s always had the desire to share his original music, and one day, over a chat, we thought, “Why not start Highway 95 and dive into some original country music?”

Surprisingly, the transition was smooth sailing; we make a great team. Being a duo is way simpler than wrangling a whole band, but we recently brought Michael Napier, a seasoned drummer, on board to beef up our sound for those larger gigs and events.

HAPPY: With decades of experience in the music industry, how have your individual musical journeys influenced the sound and direction of Highway 95?

NICOLE: For me, it’s the raw emotion embedded in Bob’s lyrics that truly shapes my sound. Each song feels like a personal journey, deeply relatable and often drawn from real-life experiences.

Many have noticed a significant shift in my vocals since joining Highway 95 and delving into original music. When I sing our songs, I strive to intertwine real-life experiences with the lyrics, infusing my sound with authentic emotion.

Lately, I’ve also noticed a roughness creeping into my vocals, adding another layer to my sound.

BOB: Growing up on country music, sitting on the floor listening to my dad’s amazing record collection, to playing cover bands since I was 18, playing rock to heavy metal music, has brought me here today, with my first ever original band Highway 95.

Having that mixed pot of embedded music influences, gives Highway 95 a diverse unique sound and lyrical writing style, and with Nicole’s amazing vocals brings it all to light, creating our Highway 95 sound.

Highway 95 interview

HAPPY: What inspired you to write ‘Can’t Fix With a Rose’? Is there a specific story or experience that influenced its creation?

BOB:  I was on social media when I came across an article on a young lady in her mid-30s who had kids, and it showed a picture of her after a violent altercation with her partner which left her hospitalised.

That picture spoke a thousand words to me and inspired the song in which I quickly wrote down in about 5 minutes. Domestic violence is a problem we all need to fix.

HAPPY: The song tackles the serious issue of domestic violence. How important was it for you to address this topic in your music, and what message do you hope to convey to your listeners?

BOB: Many of my songs are based on real life situations which is very important to me, as I may be able to help someone going through some hard times.

This year alone we have seen domestic violence over our news feed every day. They say every 4 days someone dies as a result of domestic violence. That’s a sad thing to say.

My main message to people going through domestic violence is that you’re not alone. Reach out and talk to someone, don’t be afraid to ask for help with anything you need.

HAPPY: Can you walk us through your songwriting process? How do you collaborate on lyrics and melodies to create such powerful songs?

BOB: Our first 3 songs we wrote and collaborated on were She Plays, Attitude and My Broken Heart. Those first 3 songs were quite easy and fun to pull together. This is the first time I have co-written songs with another musician.

Nicole will send me words through, and she will give me an idea of the story behind them. I usually mix some words around, cut some out, and add some in as we go, and slowly get the structure of the song, with verses, chorus’s and maybe a bridge if needed.

Then I will add the melody and get Nicole to sing over it slowly, and we create the song.

Personally, when I write on my own, it’s more like a clairvoyant kind of process where the song just comes to me, the lyrics and the melodies, and I have learnt to just stop what I am doing and write them down, and record on my phone, so I never forget it.

NICOLE: I am not the songwriter in this duo, that’s Bob’s domain. However, I do pitch in occasionally, sending lyrics to Bob, and we’ve teamed up on a few tracks together, like She Plays and Attitude, both of which are out now.


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HAPPY: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound, especially in blending country and rock elements?

BOB: I would have to say Hank Williams, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert and Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy and Alterbridge.

Their lyrics and chord progression, with great song structure, influences me a lot. From the overall sound and feel, and just good honest hard-working musicians who write great music and inspire.

NICOLE: I was raised to listen to many genres of music, but it is only recently, as we formed Highway 95, that my true love for country music (especially Americana) shone through.

My biggest influences lately would be Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wade, Morgan Wallen and Australian artist Max Jackson.

HAPPY: How has the response been to ‘Can’t Fix With a Rose’? Have any reactions from fans or listeners stood out to you?

HIGHWAY 95: Yes, we’ve received feedback from a few fans and broadcasters, one of whom remarked that “every radio station in Australia should be playing this song”.

Another saying, “I heard this song when I needed it the most, thank you”. Some have also noted that our sound is distinctive and that this particular track stands out as something quite different from our previous releases.

Additionally, they’ve highlighted the timeliness of the song, especially given the current focus on addressing domestic violence.


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HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

NICOLE: The love and support of my family and close friends, especially as they cheer me on in my passion for music and singing.

Teaming up with Bob as Highway 95 has been an amazing experience. We relish each step forward and embrace every achievement, big or small. This journey is exhilarating, and we’re eagerly seizing every opportunity that comes our way.

BOB: Being around good friends and family makes me happy. People reaching out to me saying how a certain song we have written has helped them get through some tough times.

That alone makes what I do all worthwhile. Connecting to people through music from all over the world is powerful.