Riggs burst onto music scene with unique country sound

by: SKYLAR HERNANDEZ/Staff Writer

Sam Riggs and the Night People are making those red dirt, country rock, wide-open records, with songs about taking leaps of faith, overcoming shattered hearts and letting go.

Riggs, who grew up in Florida, wanted to pursue his dream as a musician and had the choice between moving to Nashville or Austin.

He chose the Texas scene, where he began building his fast-growing reputation.

Riggs says he has always had the love for music, since he was a little boy.

“ My mom had this old Gibson guitar, 1963 classical guitar that she played on,” Riggs recalls. “Me and my brother started singing songs. I started messing around with it when I was about 6, and one thing led to another.”

His love for the music and life that is extraordinary has pushed him to keep living his dream to perform.

“My love for the music has kept me going all these years,” Riggs explains, “but mainly the desire of a life that was different and something I can look back and tell a story when I’m older.”

Photo by Natalie Rhea
Photo courtesy of Natalie Rhea

Country artist Garth Brooks has always been someone who Riggs has looked up to, musically and personally. Riggs mentioned

“He’s such a powerhouse, both personally and musically,” says Riggs “and has pushed through a lot of different obstacles in life, and that has always pushed me to chase after something the way he did it, with such a passion.”

Not only does Riggs have passion for music, but also for flying. He has been working on getting his pilot’s license. He also enjoys welding.

“I love flying airplanes,” Riggs says. “I love welding. I’m kind of a metal art geek. I like building all kinds of stuff out of random objects.”

Music as a living has been exciting for Riggs.

“Being up on stage and seeing my songs come to life, especially this new record we just finished,” Riggs explained, “the touring and the change of scenery every day, the fans and high-energy shows. It’s a hell of a life.”

Riggs loves to perform, especially live, but like all artists, he has some songs that are just more fun to play.

“‘When the Lights Go Out,’ and ‘Angola’s Lament,” Riggs responds. “Those are both two fun songs. “When the Lights Go Out” is a real emotional and high-energy song, and “Angola’s Laments” has the banjo song, which I always love playing the banjo on stage. Also the song “Hold on and Let Go,” the crowd always just screams it back to me, which is amazing.”

Riggs says that Lubbock has been good to him and his band. They have always had loyal fans who have supported them since the beginning.

By Natalie Rhea
Photo courtesy of Natalie Rhea

“Lubbock sort of feels like home in a lot of ways,” Riggs says. “Lubbock was one of the first towns that really held us down until everyone else came along. We had our first sold-out show here. They are just so supportive. Everybody is passionate about music, and it’s just crazy.”

Sam Riggs and The Night People have been working on a new album titled “Breathless” that will be coming out in 2016.

“The songs are more applicable, to a broader audience,” Riggs says of the upcoming album. “It’s a huge record. It captures what we do on stage, and its also going to make us grow. It’s a huge leap; It’s a whole other ballgame.”

The writing process has been a constant thing for Riggs. He says the new album was recorded in four weeks. Having this record done and ready for the new year is more than what he ever could have imagined.

“I can remember this was just an idea,” says Riggs, “just a notion for a song. And then seeing it come to life and having it in my hand, it’s just more than I ever thought it would be.”

“We made this record in between show to show,” he adds. “Everything is just bright lights, huge shows. It’s just an exciting time and has just kind of left me breathless. That’s where I got the idea for this record.”

Riggs performed at Wild West in Lubbock on Oct. 31. Even though there were not many people at the show, due to Halloween activities, Riggs and the Night People rocked the house.

“ Five or 5,000,“ Riggs says, adding that it doesn’t matter how many people are there. He still performs like he would if the bar was packed.

It didn’t take long for the band to get up on stage and bring the bar to life.

Riggs had a lot of energy and performed with so much emotion in his music, which got the crowd into the performance.

The band played a total of 13 songs, including, “Fire and Dynamite,” “The Chase,” “Lighthouse,” “Collide,” Callin Baton Rouge,” “Hold on and Let Go,” “Cheaper Diesel,” “Long Shot,” “Lucky Ones,” “Second Hand Smoke,” “High on a Country Song,” “Agnola’s Lament,” and lastly, “Shady Grove.”

The band played with so much energy. People were singing and dancing. The crowd may have been small, but they were as loud as a larger crowd.

When Riggs played “Hold on and Let Go, “one of the most popular songs by the band, there was not a person who was not singing. People cheered when he brought out the fiddle.

This was a great concert. Lots of people missed out on an amazing performance. But I don’t think Riggs is done with Lubbock anytime soon.

“This crowd has been one of the most inspirational crowds I have ever had,” Riggs explained.

Riggs is one of those rare talents who seem to have arrived over night. He has gone from being an opening act to headliner in just a year.

With his love for music and talent for writing music and performing on stage, his career is just beginning. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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