Riley Green is hitting the road. With an acoustic guitar in hand, the country artist is bringing his signature brand of music to audiences across the country. For Green, playing live venues is a bit like going back to his roots. But that’s also where the artist has found the most success.
Green has always written about experiences close to his heart. Now, coming off a year-long layaway due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Green has plenty to draw from. The country artist is touring again on a smaller scale and looking forward to releasing an upcoming project.
In an exclusive interview with Outsider, Green discusses what life is like on the road again. For one, the country singer couldn’t be happier.
“Oh man, it’s awesome. I probably needed a little bit of a break,” says Riley to Outsider. “It’s been a great last couple of years. When you’re kind of starting out with a song on the radio and radio tour—that travel is something I wasn’t used to. So it was nice to be able to be home and have a little time off. I think everybody has a little cabin fever now. We’re definitely ready to get back on the road and start playing shows again.”
Coming to a Town Near You
Audiences are definitely coming out to see Riley Green perform. The country singer is currently on tour, playing a number of venues throughout Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and more.
Green’s post-pandemic concerts have been intimate affairs. The country singer said many of the venues have been socially distanced with reduced capacity. The sparse crowds remind him of the places he played when he was first starting his career with only a guitar and a prayer.
“It reminds me of how I started out. For years and years, I played acoustic shows. And that’s what I’m doing now, is cut-down capacity acoustic shows,” Green says. “It’s definitely back to my roots in being able to get up there with an acoustic guitar and not have a full band and really have a crowd right there.”
Playing during a pandemic, even one that’s recovering, provides its own challenges. To make up for reduced crowds, Green is spending two or three nights in a town, playing the same venue, instead of hitting the road for a new town immediately after a set. In a way, Green is like a swimmer testing the water with his toe before making a full plunge. But the country artist has been making waves since the release of his Top 20 debut single, “There Was This Girl,” in 2018.
Riley Green Looks to the Future
For Riley Green, a year-long break from country music touring has had its benefits. It’s given him the chance to look toward the future and his next project. The country musician has used the downtime to fine-tune his upcoming project, which he still doesn’t know the release date for.
“We’ve cut six new songs, a couple of them I’ve never played live anywhere at all,” Green says. “We’re going to have some brand-new stuff on it. A lot of it is stuff I’ve written during quarantine and over the break. And even some stuff I wrote early on I never got around to cutting.”
One of the curses of being an in-demand country star is finding time to write new material. In that way, the year-long break has been a blessing in disguise. The country singer feels rejuvenated and can’t wait until audiences hear what he’s cooked up.
But writing and recording in a bubble have had their share of challenges as well. Green hasn’t been able to showcase new material to live audiences to see how they might respond. Instead, Green took to social media to tease new material and stay connected with fans.
Riley Green’s Hometown Influences
Riley’s catalog of songs reflect his childhood growing up in Jacksonville, Alabama. Green has a knack for creating vivid imagery that resonates with listeners.
“From early on, I just started writing songs about things I saw growing up,” Green says. “And things I learned growing up in northeast Alabama. I think I’m just really fortunate that a lot of people grew up the same way I did.”
In his recent single, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks,” for instance, Green navigates the often-treaded topic of truck ownership. It’s a subject that’s been covered countless times in country music and could have easily fallen into cliche. But Green managed to craft a song that feels both distinctively personable and relatable.
At the center of Green’s sound is his late Grandad Buford, who taught him a passion for two things in life: playing guitar and Merle Haggard. Green mournfully memorialized him and his other grandfather, Lyndon, in the touching song, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” in 2019.
“My granddaddy Buford was a big Merle Haggard fan,” Riley said. “And that’s how I started playing and singing is with him. It was old Merle Haggard songs. So that definitely, steered me toward the more traditional sound of country music.”
With plenty of time at home over the last year to reflect and create, Green’s upcoming project has the potential to help him reach the next level. The country singer may be hitting the road now. But all roads eventually lead home.