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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Concert review: Rank-rising country artist Riley Green puts on lively show

Riley Green performs on stage during Daytime Village at the 2024 iHeartCountry Festival presented by Capital One at Moody Center on May 5 in Austin, Texas.  (Getty Images)
By Jordan Tolley-Turner For The Spokesman-Review

Country artist Riley Green has quickly been rising in the ranks of modern country music, and with an energetic show like he put on at Northern Quest Resort & Casino it isn’t difficult to understand why.

Green is on the “Ain’t My Last Rodeo Tour” in support of his second full-length album of the same name, which was released in October of last year. Last month, he also released a 7-track EP titled “Way Out Here.”

Green’s performance on May 16 was a windy one in Airway Heights with concert goers struggling to keep hold of their hats and done-up hair – but that wouldn’t stop Green and company from keeping the music loud and the energy high.

The show began with an outstanding video introduction featuring Green’s beloved corgi, Carl, before Green appeared sporting an Atlanta Braves cap, a red solo cup, and an acoustic guitar.

Vocally, Green’s southern roots were apparent, but the accent didn’t hinder his deep and strong voice that remained powerful throughout the evening. He performed a range of songs from his multiple albums and EP releases thus far, including preverbal fan favorites such as “Different ‘Round Here,” “I Wish Grandpa’s Never Died” and “When She Comes Home Tonight.”

Green and the band kept the energy up and weren’t afraid to have a good time with consistent stories, song context and fan interactions as the show progressed – including Green signing hats mid-song a number of times. On the production side, fan experience was obviously very important with those in the crowd being given their time to shine on the big screen nearly as frequently as Green himself. The pre-recorded visuals and impressive light show were also

On the instrumental end, it was difficult to not notice how great the mixing was – something a fair number of bands and production crews can struggle with in real time. Each instrument was in perfect tandem without taking over Green’s vocals. Each instrument was given their time to shine but the electric guitar and drums were usually driving the performance with the pedal steel also given a noticeable place in the mix, a beautiful instrument that can get left out of the show at times. Various instruments instrumental to country music but seemingly forgotten by many of the modern radio hits were explored throughout the night, including the pedal steel, banjo, and mandolin. The band was outstanding and tight as can be, but Green himself is arguably at his best when the sound is stripped back, such as when performing a newer fan favorite in “Jesus Saves” with nothing but an acoustic guitar.

Two openers joined Green, one of which being rising country artist Ella Langley. Langley impressed right out the gate with strong vocals, particularly an impressively powerful chest voice. Langley herself interacted with the early crowd frequently, told a few stories, and wasn’t afraid to let how good of a time she was having come across. Later in the night, she would join Green for a beautiful cover duet of Jamey Johnson’s classic “In Color.”

Green was also joined by ‘90s country hitmaker Tracy Lawrence. Lawrence came through in performing the classics like “Time Marches On” and “Paint Me A Birmingham” along with many others. At 56, Lawrence is an older performer and the age can be a little obvious at times, but the hits still hit and he was seemingly as high energy as ever. Lawrence performed a section of covers during his set (including the timeless Charlie Daniels Band hit “The Devil Went Down To Georgia where fiddle player Joe Caverlee truly shined) and would also join Green for a cover of the beloved tune “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” by the recently deceased Toby Keith.

Overall, Riley Green and company put on a great show all around with high energy, prominent fan experiences, and musical excellence with a perfect mix of southern rock and neo-traditional country roots.