“With all this goin’ on, I found some right in all this wrong. And I finally see, the good Lord knows better than me.”
Current conditions have paused the music industry, halting concert tours, award shows, promotional appearances, and beyond. But with all the ceased activity, the songs play on. And there is no better genre that depicts the emotions of everyday people like country music. Riley Green superbly conveys those sentiments in “Better Than Me,” an apt illustration co-written with Jordan Fletcher, Ray Fulcher, Charlie Muncaster, and Gary Stanton of what present-day America is experiencing.
The track opens his latest collection, “Valley Road,” an all-acoustic take on new songs, hits, and previously unreleased material. With downtime from the road, he recorded the vocals at home and offered fans reimagined versions of his concert staples. And with live shows canceled into the near future, now is the ideal time for listeners to dig into something new.
His debut gold-selling single, “There Was This Girl,” follows, complete with catchy guitar grooves. The song’s success led him to be named part of the CRS 2020 New Faces Class earlier this year. Plus, he’s nominated for Best New Male Artist at this fall’s ACM Awards. “Different ‘Round Here,” and “If It Wasn’t for Trucks,” are signature songs portraying his Alabama roots that gleam in the stripped-down setting.
The set closes with “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” one of the best songs on country radio in recent years. If you’ve seen Riley in concert, he always performs this acoustic, and the audience’s reaction is audible magic. Every word is anthemically sung by concertgoers, creating a rare spectacular connection between the audience and the artist.
Like Merle Haggard and Alan Jackson demonstrated before him, Riley Green recognizes that simplicity is the key component of a country song. This EP is a timely musical contribution in a world that appears to be getting back to basics. The minimalist-sounding approach of “Valley Road,” reveals just what Riley Green and his guitar are capable of – a relatable, uncomplicated, and humble view of an ordinary life set to music.