Complacency is a common fault that many of us share in our daily lives. In our careers, in our relationships, in just about every facet we become increasingly unimpressed with the great things we have, and often times it takes losing something or a proverbial slap in the face to make us realize just how good we have it. I tend to find myself in that mindset when it comes to new music. I often times feel underwhelmed when presented with new acts, or sometimes even with new releases from some of my favorite established performers. Much to my surprise, I received one of those slaps courtesy of Sam Riggs and the Night People. It happened this past April at LJT. Had I really been missing out on this great act while everyone else knew how good they were? Apparently so. I had just wrote them off as another flash in the pan new act. Boy was I wrong.
I knew a few of the songs, but the sheer energy they pushed on the crowd was amazing. These guys were good, no I mean really good. Sam and his array of different instruments he played during the set from guitar to fiddle, and everything in-between, to the ripping riffs and melodies these hard-working troubadours pumped out were beyond infections. I had found that smile creep back that had long since been missing, and I was not only surprised by a new act to me, but downright impressed. So when I was afforded the chance to pick Sam's brain, I jumped all over it.
First I wanted to know where the energy came from, " Deep Down. A Wild place that lives for the fight and the edge. I'll tell you what really makes it happen for me: the crowd. I live for them. The energy and synergy they share is breathtaking, and stronger than any drug on earth. I love them for it." Next I wanted to know how he translates his ideas and thoughts into such a rousing performance through song. These were his thoughts: "I have no real rhythm to my process. I write solo, I co-write equally well. I try to write every day. Having someone who you click with can make all the difference in a co-write. I do plan co-writes. I like to have a story laid out.. And then color it in. I also like to write to drum tracks on loop sometimes, helps me feel the groove. Melody can be a huge inspiration as well. Hell, I'm all over the place. I guess I'll do what ever I can to get one written." Enthusiasm, energy, integrity, thoughtfulness, and passion are all traits that above-average songwriter's posses, and Sam Riggs shows these qualities through his exciting, thought-provoking, and sometimes downright amazing music. Had I been missing out? You're damn right I had, and when Sam stopped by our LJT camp and played an unreleased tune for us, I realized just how great that songwriting talent was.
"Out Run The Sun went off like a gunshot. It blew things wide open for me and the boys, and has stoked the fire in our stage show. I'd say we're edgier and more focused than ever now. It's also made me hungry to put out another record. Different. Better. Bigger." I have no doubt Sam's sentiments will hold true, and the sky truly is the limit for these fellas that are continually gaining ground with each performance in each new town.
Most fans never get to see the work side of the business, rather just the glitz and glam of the stage. What advice do you have for that upstart musician thinking about hitting the road for the first time? "Write. Your. Ass. Off. Make the songs and keep making them. Put together a good band and work on building a fan base. Stay in a van as long as possible. Busses are great if you can afford them, but a bus costs at least a grand a day between a driver and fuel... That's a lot of money that can be spent on other things. Plus, as James Brown said "I'll drive my damn self." You don't need a manager and anyone who wants to manage you will probably be more of a hindrance than anything. Stay away from people who want to 'hook-you-up' or 'represent-you' and handle your money. When the time is right, that will all fall into place. I met my manager (JEB) at the right time and that made all the difference. Plus he's one in a million. The day will come when having management is helpful, but don't worry about that right now. Work to become a great guitar player, this will help everything as well as your writing. Make great records, you can't afford anything less than great. Oh yeah, there are no 'good' record deals, it's about choosing the lesser of the evils." Confident and intelligent words for a man who has found himself on the fast-track to success, but placed on that track by the same principles he shared with us.
No mistake about it, Sam Riggs and the Night People are establishing their hold on the music scene, and have no plans on slowing down. I can tell you if you don't already know who these guys are, you're doing an injustice to your ears. I'll leave you guys with a look at the current single, and the video for it that released earlier this week.
We look forward to seeing Sam at this years Pickin' for Preemies, his first year to perform, and expect great things from Sam in the future.
No matter how dark the skies or how little things seem to go your way, there is always cause for celebration. It really is a mindset. Be thankful for the thing and people you have in life, you never know when that curve ball is gonna be thrown across the plate, and you're stuck swinging just a moment too late. Inspiration is just around the corner, in every smile from a friend or family member, the song on the radio, or those little places that can only be found when you slow down a bit, and turn off on those trails we like to call Texas Red Dirt Roads.
For more on Sam Riggs and the Night People: CLICK HERE
For more on how you can contribute or attend the 2014 PICKIN' FOR PREEMIES event: CLICK HERE