Riley Green’s Hometown: What to Know About the Country Superstar’s Small-Town Roots

by Jonathan Howard
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If you listen to Riley Green and hit shuffle, then you’re going to likely hear something about his hometown of Jacksonville, Alabama. For Green, his hometown is something that he holds close to his heart. His whole life, the Duckman has represented Jacksonville to the fullest. He grew up there, went to college and even played football at the university, and still takes time to reconnect with family and his roots.

So, Where is Riley Green From?

  • Riley Green grew up in Jacksonville, Alabama
  • He played football for Jacksonville State and has given back to the program since leaving
  • In his music, Green often refers to Jacksonville or his upbringing, drawing inspiration from his small town roots

Growing up, music was a huge part of Green’s life. It wasn’t just the music that he was listening to at home, but it was also who he hung around in his free time. Bufford Green, his grandfather, ran the Golden Saw Music Hall. That’s where Green started performing at an early age. He took the stage with his grandfather and the other older musicians.

Bluegrass, traditional country, and southern gospel. Those were the influences that Green grew up on. That’s what goes into his music to this day. Of course, as a modern artist, he has a newer sound and style. However, he has all the references, can play a lot of the classics, and does his best to pay homage when he can.

When his first album, DIFFERENT ‘ROUND HERE put him on the map in 2019. His passion for family and his place of birth were on display there. However, his 2021 album Behind the Bar was almost a dedication to that upbringing he had in Jacksonville.

Taking the Field for the Hometown Gamecocks

Growing up in Alabama and playing football, most kids would dream of playing for the Crimson and Cream. Roll Tide and all that. While that might have been in his wildest dreams, Green had the chance to represent his state and his hometown all at once. He was a local and talented passer and made his way to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. While he was there, it wasn’t NFL crowds that he was preparing to entertain. However, he would go on to delight thousands in stadiums soon after.

Eventually, Green worked his way into the starting quarterback spot for the Gamecocks in 2008. His early years of trying to make music weren’t easy. However, he didn’t give up on it. He started to release music with a self-titled EP in 2013. He put out more records in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Once he signed on with Big Machine Label Group, it was a gamechanger.

Now, years later, he has won the ACM New Male Artist of the Year award, played a ton of sold-out shows and big stages, and made his alma mater proud. To show just how proud they were, plus all the money Green raised for the athletics department, the school dedicated the Riley Green Athletics Sports Performance Center to the artist. Now, he has left a lasting and impactful mark on his old school. So, maybe the next guy that comes through might have a chance at the league… or something else entirely.

Letting His Family Keep Him Humble

One of the things that keep Riley Green connected to his hometown is his family. There ain’t no one out there that will humble you faster than your own blood. No matter what the country music singer does he knows that around his folks and relatives, he’s “just Riley.” Even if he has performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2019, Green talked to The Boot about his family. They had just gone on vacation down on the beach.

“My grandmother and nieces and nephews were all down there, and that was really all I needed,” Green said. “I spent a few days, and it’s not music talk. I don’t have to fill anybody in on what’s going on … It keeps you pretty grounded when you get around folks like that, which is another reason why I wanna spend so much time with them.”

No matter where you turn, Green can take a little piece of Jacksonville with him. In his music, in his upbringing, and in his heart. So, if you think you’ve heard the last of Green’s small-town references and stories from Jacksonville… think again.

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