Riley Green Hits Close to Home With Wistful New ‘I Wish Grandpas Never Died’ [LISTEN]
Riley Green lands on a timeless message in his newest song, "I Wish Grandpas Never Died." He waxes nostalgic on life's all-too-short good times, with lyrics that list all the things that end too soon.
"I wish high school home teams never lost / and backroad-drinking kids never got caught / I wish the price of gas was low and cotton was high / I wish honky-tonks didn't have no closing time / And I wish grandpas never died," Green sings in the song's chorus. It's a lamentation that pretty much every listener can get behind: After all, everyone has lost something -- or someone -- that they wish could last forever.
For Green, nothing hits home harder than his relationship with his two grandfathers, who died in 2010 and 2018. Not only have both of them inspired songs from the rising artist, but they also gave him his first lessons in country music history, playing him songs by artists such as Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and Roy Acuff.
The singer's paternal grandfather -- Buford Green -- instilled in him a reverence for the Grand Ole Opry when he was a young child, and gave him his first taste of live performance at a more local level, too. The elder Green founded the Golden Saw Music Hall, a country and bluegrass venue near the singer's hometown of Jacksonville, Ala. Along with other local artists, the younger Green took the Golden Saw stage as a budding musician.
"The best way I can describe it is there's a tree in the kitchen when you walking and there's, like, a raccoon in it and a hornet's nest in it," he tells Taste of Country. "For show, not alive. And there's a possum on a string they hang up from the stage and they play some song about running a possum over and cooking it that night."
The singer's maternal grandfather, whom he calls Granddaddy Lendon, has made appearances in several songs, including "Numbers on the Cars." That song grapples with losing a loved one to Alzheimer's, and while it was actually Lendon's brother -- not Green's grandfather himself -- who had that disease, the singer borrowed details from his Grandaddy Lendon's life in order to write it.
It's no wonder that "I Wish Grandpas Never Died" cuts so deep -- Green's two grandfathers played critical roles in his life, career and love of music. Furthermore, the singer's fanbase seems to be full of people who have had similar experiences. Even months before its official release, the track was a mainstay and a clear favorite at his live shows.
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