Riley Green - Behind the Bar
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Behind the Bar (Big Machine, 2021)

Riley Green

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Riley Green is one of the guys that gets turned up loud whenever one of his songs comes over the radio. Most of his singles have substance and style. "Behind The Bar" is a small package, only seven songs long, but it still contains a few musical gems. In short, it's mostly a volume-cranker.

One element running throughout this short set is plenty of country fiddle. Even on "Put 'Em On Mine," which otherwise rocks, there's enough fiddle to still give it a country feel. You're probably going to want to dislike "If It Wasn't For Trucks." After all, there are already too many tractors and pickups in country songs. However, this Riley song describes all the memorable life moments associated with trucks, which ends up being more about fond memories than merely lines about motor vehicles.

There's a fine duet featuring Jessi Alexander on "That Was Us," which is not about the tear-jerking TV drama with a similar name. A song about the one that got away, "I Let A Damn Good Woman Leave," in addition to being a really good sad song, also highlights how no musical genre applies the expletive "damn" better than country. Maybe this is because country people are just a lot more comfortable using that term than most. The album closes with "That's My Dixie," which deftly avoids being yet another predictable pro-South song. Instead of reinforcing Southern stereotypes, it primarily debunks them, instead.

Whether it's a full-length album, or something shorter like this EP, Riley Green always leaves us wanting more. He may not be the best semi-traditionalist on the scene, but he certainly belongs in the conversation whenever discussing the top candidates. So, turn it up!


CDs by Riley Green

Different 'Round Here, 2019 Get That Man a Beer EP, 2019


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