Luke Combs Pushed Riley Green to Up His Game in One Big Way
Riley Green's hardly a greenhorn when it comes to touring. Long before he ever had any radio success, the Alabama native was earning his fans the old-fashioned way, city by city and show by show.
But all these years later, Green's still learning new things about touring. Before he launches his Ain't My Last Rodeo Tour in February 2024, the singer told Taste of Country that in 2023, he sharpened his skills on big stages.
"[My live show] definitely had to evolve when I was on stadium tour with Luke Combs. When you do a stadium tour, it's a little different than clubs or arenas or amphitheaters, even," says Green, who was an opening act on some dates of Combs' 2023 World Tour. "I learned a lot from that tour. And all the artists I've been fortunate enough to go out with. I learn something from all of them."
The learning experience doesn't stop when Green's the headliner, either. His upcoming tour features '90s legend Tracy Lawrence, and once again, he's excited to watch and learn.
"I'm such a big fan of him. You can't help but learn something from somebody like that, who's had a career for that long," Green gushes. "Ella Langley's coming on tour, an up-and-coming artist from Alabama. And I'm excited about going out and getting to play some of the new songs off the album."
That album, also titled Ain't My Last Rodeo, came out in October, and its track list bears the fruit of all the learning and growing Green's done over the past couple of years. Studying other artists' work onstage translates — in the studio — to collaboration, and listeners will find Jelly Roll and Luke Combs duets on the new project, plus a cover of a Tim McGraw deep cut.
But there is one major difference between the studio and the stage: Performing under Combs' tour banner made Green push himself to new pinnacles. When asked if it's intimidating to put out a duet with a superstar like Combs, Green just chuckles.
"Nah, it makes it easier!" he jokes. "I wish I could have Luke Combs on every one of my songs."
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes