Riley Green‘s “If It Wasn’t for Trucks” is like a dirt road with a familiar tire tread well-worn into it. The song covers beloved, classic country subject matter: It’s a love song to a truck and the memories made in its driver’s seat.
In his lyrics, Green name-checks the pivotal moments in life that took place inside that truck. He remembers crying in it the day he lost his grandpa, getting up the courage to lean across the bucket seats and kiss a girl, and even driving from his Alabama hometown to his new musical home in Tennessee. None of those moments, he reflects, would have been possible without his trusty old truck.
It’s no surprise that Green would lean heavily into his traditional country roots for this song, which is the title track of his September-released EP. Ever since he put out his debut single, 2018’s “There Was This Girl,” Green’s found success with his brand of ’90s-inflected, throwback-inspired country music. His 2019 tearjerker “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” leaned even more heavily into his roots, highlighting the importance of family and small-town life in the south.
When the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, those longtime influences proved even more crucial to Green’s musical identity. Since he couldn’t tour, the singer spent time back home with family in Jacksonville, Ala., writing new material and realizing just how important his roots would be to his next musical chapter.
The If it Wasn’t for Trucks is the first taste of Green’s next musical step, which is expected to culminate in his sophomore full-length album in 2021. If the five-song EP, and particularly “If It Wasn’t for Trucks,” is any indication, that project will double down on the rootsy, plain-and-simple traditionalism that worked so well for Green in previous singles.
Watch Riley Green Sing “I Wish Grandpas Never Died”:
Riley Green’s “If It Wasn’t for Trucks” Lyrics:
Why would any teenage boy cut grass / Sweat all summer, save his cash / Dream about turnin’ heads downtown / Straight pipes on a hand me down? / How would anybody’s daddy get around / To mend the fences and feed the cows? / Where the hell would a small-town girl climb up / If it wasn’t for trucks?
Where would I have raised all that hell / And talked to God all by myself? / How would I have got to Tennessee without a bucket seat? / Where was I supposed to cry / That July day Granddaddy died? / Or haul that deer, drink that beer / Fall in and out of love? / If it wasn’t for trucks …
Where would I have first heard Merle / Or got the nerve to kiss that green-eyed girl? / Where would old dogs ride? / Where would life fly by?
I wouldn’t be who I am today / If it wasn’t for a short-bed Chevrolet …
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