Artist: Sam Riggs
Label: Deep Creek Records
Release Date: 02/19/2016
Young country singer-songwriter Sam Riggs had a dream and followed it from Florida all the way to Austin, Texas, successfully gaining the title of “underdog” but already surpassing its definition. His debut album, Outrun The Sun, released in 2013, was met with such support that it was only a matter of time before Riggs came out with a second full-length record, Breathless, released just a few months ago. The latest album is more high-powered and confident than his first release, but equally talented with tons of country rhythms and some rock ‘n roll beats.
Breathless opens with its widely-promoted single “The Lucky Ones”, a top-volume anthem full of catchy hooks and huge orchestral instrumentation, courtesy of the University of North Texas’ drum line. Following that opening energy are sweet ballads like “The Heartbreak Girl” and the record’s title track, which has Riggs romantically alluding to a forever type of love, passionately singing lyrics like “Just one kiss from your Novocaine lips and you take all my pain away,” one of many nods to the intimate songwriting he focuses on with this album. Though the more light pop-centric tracks are still sweet and catchy, Riggs satisfies our hunger for a good ol’ country song with the aptly named “High On A Country Song” which has a punchy guitar line and pulsating drum beats behind rough-and-tough vocals singing the dictionary of country with the chorus “It’s all about the big lights, shinin’ bright, whiskey got you feelin’ right/Kick drum like a shotgun rippin’ through the night/Raising hell and Dixie cups all night long,” which feels like a Nashville bar at 3 in the morning after a couple of good drinks and better company. The album reverts back to its slow, silky tone, ending finally with “One More Chance To Stay”, a bittersweet ballad that showcases Riggs’ mature, malleable vocals.
After ten tracks, Breathless ends how it began with airy, eerie instrumentals but provides listeners with a deeper insight into Sam Riggs–not just his mind and how his experiences have shaped him but also how his musical self has grown and matured in recent years. He may have started as an underdog but after his latest release, he comes out on top.