Outrun The Sun

Sam Riggs

Deep Creek Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


No matter what I might claim otherwise, I kind of like country music – as long as it’s real country music with some modicum of intelligence to it – no Toby Keith right-wing dumbassery, no misogynistic crap, and for Johnny Cash’s sake, no pop music in disguise. If there’s not at least a little steel guitar or fiddle, you ain’t doin’ it right.

With that said, I’ve become a fan of Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Sam Riggs. He does basic, straightforward country music that manages to avoid being ingenuous or simple-minded; while he may still hit some of the common genre tropes, he presents them with maturity and complexity. His first CD, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Outrun The Sun, remains my favorite.

While Riggs is a traditionalist in many senses, there are still strong rock influences on this album. In his own words, “‘I grew up with George Jones and Three Doors Down at the same time,” Riggs says with a shrug. “So many people did.’” Of course, this is also a guy who climbs mountains for fun, so it makes sense he just doesn't care what anyone thinks about his occasional genre dabbling – dabbling that still, somehow, ends up sounding authentic.

Outrun The Sun is a sampler box of hook-laden, enjoyable country with lyrics head and shoulders above most of the crap infesting the radio airwaves nowadays. It starts off with “Long Shot,” a song about taking chances for love, then swings into the banjo-laced two-step of “Come Back Down.” “Fire And Dynamite” is just that. The crown jewels, though, are “Collide,” “Angola’s Lament,” and “Change.” “Collide” is about two people who get a second (third?) chance, “Change” is a heartfelt ballad about...well…change. Then there’s “Angola’s Lament,” a dark and brooding storyteller’s song about love, betrayal, and revenge that will leave you with chills.

If Outrun The Sun lacks anywhere, it’s in the element of cohesion. Riggs is still finding his voice here, and there are a few rough musical edges that needed sanded off; “Oilfield Town” could be a Toby Keith song, and “Hold On And Let Go” drifts too close to cliché.

On the whole, however, Outrun The Sun is a fine debut album, a fine piece of modern country, and worth listening to.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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