Don’t Quit on Riley Green’s ‘There Was This Girl’ [Listen]
Riley Green's "There Was This Girl" finds the narrow space between calls for a return to a more timeless country sound and seeks to banish the word "bro" from the dictionary. The debut single is smart storytelling for the everyman.
The trick Green and his co-writers pull is using successive choruses to advance his narrative without sacrificing the country-rocker's singalong quality. He swaps only a word or phrase each time, slowly turning what starts as an adolescent adventure reminiscent of Chris Cagle's "Chicks Dig It" into a grown man's memory. George Strait was the master of this, often tweaking a final chorus or adding a few lines to his bridge to turn the song on its head. Adherence to the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus formula is either a reminder of how difficult writing a great country song can be, or a sign that made-for-radio songs are also made to assimilate.
"There Was This Girl" does fit in, but it also stands up. All the ingredients are here for a groan-inducing "not again" kind of reaction: the song and EP (In a Truck Right Now) titles, the strapping nature of the Alabama-raised country boy, the reality television background. Don't mix them. Don't assume you know who he is or what the music is about. The title track to his EP will tear you up if you're a father (or if you've lost your father). Green's stint on CMT's Redneck Island came after he'd started to build a grass roots audience. If he can continue to pump out '90s-influenced mainstream country-rockers that also turn heads, he'll soon be an artist playing for much more than recognition.
Did You Know?: One of the first major acts Green ever opened for was Chris Cagle.
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Riley Green's "There Was This Girl" Lyrics:
Never knew my old man's truck could even run like that / Should've known better than to take that curve so fast / Daddy pulled up, I was down in a ditch / He asked me why I did what I did.
There was this girl, drink in her hand / Shootin' me a let's get into trouble grin / I ain't never seen somethin' so fine / And I was doin' anything to make her mine / I was out of my mind, she was out of this world / There was this girl.
Some folks ask me why I still pick this guitar / They say livin' that life on the road won't get you very far / I say man you should've been down in Tupelo / Seen what was in the front row.
There was this girl, beer in her hand / Shootin' me a play a little Skynyrd grin / She's turnin' it up, she's turnin' me on / And I'd play her anything she'd sing along / I was out of my mind, she was out of this world / There was this girl / Yeah there was this girl.
Didn't know a diamond ring could cost so much, damn / Took six months on a farm before I saved up / All my drinkin' buddies still out on the town / Wonderin' why I ever settled down.
But there was this girl, holdin' my hand / Shootin' me a start a life together grin / She's pullin' me in, she straightened me out / And now I know what love is all about / I'm still out of my mind, she's still out of this world / There was this girl.