John Riggins Outlaw Rising Review
The first thing you’ll notice about John Riggin’s album Outlaw Rising is his thick, authentic southern accent that both sets him apart from the rest of the rising-star aspiring artists and places him with the voices of country legends. Album opener 90 Proof Prison is his immediate statement that not only is his voice a classic throwback to country’s prime years, but also shows that he can add subtle differences, whether in beat or instrument, while still keeping that same country sound we’ve grown to love.
It’s that return to classic country that, ironically, is what makes him so fresh among the hoards of artists struggling to stand out. Although his voice is one of those defining characteristics that propels his music, the masterful use of steel guitar is just as powerful as his own voice. Most prominently featured in “Lonesome Ol’ Guitar,” the steel guitar echoes woefully behind Riggin’s crooning, highlighting the emotional impact of the song. Rising flows naturally up and down, from the swinging opener 90 Proof Prison, to the sweeping “The Ballad of Harley Andersen”, back to the nostalgic “Mobile,” and so forth throughout the rest of the album, providing an easy yet attention-grabbing listen. Speaking of nostalgia, “Mobile” serves as a great centerpiece to the album, grounding it so well that it feels as though Riggins isn’t a new artist, but has been around for ages.
His clear lyrics and ability to story-tell further cement the authenticity and wisdom that Riggins commands in his music. He is able to retell stories of staying in the bar, broken hearts, and his good ol’ mama with an energy and uniqueness that refreshes what would be considered commonly treaded country themes. Riggins clearly is aiming for the prime country days of the 90s, and Outlaw Rising hits the bullseye.