Starting with his hit “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” Riley Green has delivered one song after another that labors and often achieves to touch something deeper in the listener than just their vapid, passive-listening pleasure zone placed in the bullseye of the likes of 101.1 FM.
Remember, it’s just the ACM Awards. Less prestigious than the CMAs, and more susceptible to bloc voting and other dubious practices than most any other awards apparatus in country music and beyond, think of it more as a performative infomercial for the mainstream of country music.
Riley Green’s “Bury Me in Dixie” has returned to streaming services after it was pulled due to a controversial line in the song. “I wish Robert E. Lee could come and take a bow” is the line that was deemed too incendiary to continue to serve to the public, and the song was pulled from streaming services in late October.
It’s a new era in mainstream country music. Artists like Riley Green, and songs like “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” featuring ample steel guitar and twang aren’t being shied away from. They’re being favored as the hot commodity of the moment amid the dying embers of Bro Country. You can thank performers like Chris Stapleton, Jon Pardi, and Luke Combs for opening up this opportunity.