Newcomer Riley Green made a lot of noise this summer with his debut (#1) single “There Was This Girl,” and he is following it up with his first full length, 14 track album Different ‘Round Here. Green is first and foremost a songwriter, which really shines through on the album. Each and every song feels like it was hand picked out of a moment from his life and turned into a 3 minute story. From “In A Truck Right Now,” a song that plays chronologically throughout ones life with the truck ticking off each milestone, to “My First Everything,” a sweet little song about young love, first love, and first heartbreak. Green has a knack to make everything feel relatable.
It’s clear, with love, Green may have been burned in the past. “ Runnin’ With An Angel” details the excitement and ultimate heartbreak of what happens when opposites attract and try to work on a relationship. Whereas “In Love By Now” shows the acceptance of something not working out, with one moving on and the other one staying stuck. Riley keeps it light with “Get That Man A Beer” and by man he means the man who is now dating his ex. A simple ‘thank you’ for helping him “dodge a bullet” as the song goes.
What is evident throughout the album is that Riley Green is a man proud of his roots, unashamed to sing and boast about the place he grew up in and the lifestyle he lives. The title track of the album is the biggest proof there as “Different ‘Round Here” dictates a small town life, filled with a strong community, where “right is right, wrong is wrong” and where people stand for the flag. The theme continues in “Outlaws Like Us” an ode to those rough around the edges guys and “Same Old Song” which champions the simple way of life, which may just include the same lake to go fishing, wearing the same boots, driving the same truck, loving the same people. It sounds like something straight out of the 90’s country playlist.
Riley does a great job of putting authentic songs together, songs that have a feel of the 90’s country, but also songs that can hold their own on the charts today (ex: “There Was This Girl”). But it’s not an act; this is who Riley Green is. And it shines through the best of all in two of the songs on the album, more than the others.
“Numbers on the Cars” is such a bittersweet song about Green’s grandpa, living with Alzheimer’s. He may not always remember his grandson, or that his wife passed away years ago, but you can bet each Sunday, when watching the race, he can name every driver and number on the cars.
Green’s latest single, and thank goodness it is because the world deserves to hear this song, is “I Wish Grandpas Never Died.” Throughout the song, Green shares his wishes for the world, like wishing “Monday Mornings felt like Friday nights” or “wishing everybody overseas was going to make it home” or “That country music still got played on country radio.” I can’t wait to hear this on the radio for that last line itself.
Riley Green already has the commercial success of his lead single under his belt. But with this album, Green is showing why he is the artist that is going to show up and always give us the true, authentic, honest country music that we’ve been missing.