I have a soft spot for the thick southern drawl of Riley Green. Sometimes his music leans a bit too heavy towards the mainstream side for me, but damn he can sure bring out a heck of a song. Maybe it’s an Alabama thing, because I’ve noticed I’m far more lenient with a lot of these artists. Sure, they have their moments of drum beats that make me face palm, but there is a deeper attention to the lyrics than most of the Nashville regulars I’ve heard. His latest release, Outlaws Like Us has a few songs that I find worthy of recognition, especially Numbers on the Cars.
I have to thank the very talented country artist, Erik Dylan, for posting about his buddy Riley Green. They penned Outlaws Like Us together, which I found surprisingly good, despite the cliche subject matter. Sometimes it just boils down to the execution and instrumentals to make it all work. After all, music is made for enjoyment and we can certainly let it loose every so often.
Not knowing any background on Numbers on the Cars, I knew right away what it was about. And man, Green did an exceptional job on this song.
The mostly acoustic makeup of this song makes the lyrics standout in a way that taps into the old saying: Three Chords and the Truth. Stripped down just enough where we are clearly able to follow his Grandpa’s struggle with Alzheimer's. The once powerful mind of a beloved family member has slowly lost it’s sharpness. With a thoughtful sadness Green recalls his Grandfather forgetting the death of his wife a year prior and even not exactly knowing where he is.
We hear the stories of families having such a hard time when a loved one struggles with this disease. Hearing it in song really paints that picture for those of us that have not personally experienced it.
But somehow, there are glimmers of hope.
The love they share for NASCAR, jogs Grandpa’s memory when he sees the race on TV and lights up in a big smile. Though the fishing trips aren’t quite the same, but he clearly remembers his way around the boat. Just that little bit of recollection that connects him with his life, despite his fuzzy memory. It’s powerful to hear because we know it’s real. I honestly think it’s something you just won’t understand until it happens to someone you care deeply about.
If you ask me, Numbers on the Cars will go down as one of the best songs that Riley Green has written. It’s powerful in not only the message, but the delivery. He has kept it rooted in the side of country that is memorable and not overflowing with artificial enhancements. If you choose to sing about a deep and sensitive subject like Alzheimer's, it’s a crime to cheapen it. You want the audience to relate and listen.
Some of my audience may not love every song in his library, but this one stands out. As a country fan, this is what country music is all about.
Two thumbs way up on this one.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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