Bubba McAllister Raised Rowdy Contributor
If I made a living in the 615, in the music industry, it wouldn’t be on stage at Tequila Cowboy, Nudie’s or Tootsies Orchid Lounge- it would be in a writers’ room. There’s something about being able to melodically and rhythmically evoke emotion via songsmanship. It’s truly a craft to be able to reach up on a proverbial shelf, dust off a memory, open it up and just remember. Just let an event, or a person, or a space in time reappear, and linger for a minute or two. I think The Chief put it best when he said “…Funny how a melody, sounds like a memory, like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night…”. Well Riley accomplished that, perhaps better than he ever has, down in his home state, in Phenix City, AL.
As a listener who didn’t get the rare opportunity to be there live, we got a peek behind the curtain of the live recording for his music video for “I Wish Grandpas Never Died”. Back in November, Riley played to a sold out amphitheater. After explaining why there were so many lights and cameras, he uped the stakes when he specifically named his departed Grandfathers (Buford and Lendon) and continues to explain how special the night is because, and to quote him “my two grandmothers, who were married to them are sitting over here on the side, and this may be be the very last time they get to hear me play this song in front of them”.
The phrase “three chords and the truth” is a phrase that has been bastardized, muddled down and nearly taken on a life of its own, but when Harlan Howard candidly coined this phrase, perhaps it was foreshadowing of a November evening in eastern Alabama. If the heartbeat of country is still beating as strong today as it was back when George Jones asked us “Who’s gonna fill their shoes” it’s because of songwriting, acoustic playing, sitting on a stool and pouring out their soul to a crowd with tears in their eyes and grandfathers in their hearts. It still beats in artists like Riley Green.
Check out the video below and whether it’s for the first time ever, or the thousandth- share in the experience of the night. Have a cold one and remember “Paw Paw” today.