This is Riley Downing’s first solo album - he has been playing with New Orleans' The Deslondes, but during the pandemic-induced shutdown found that he wanted to do some solo stuff. It started out with a two-sided single, on which he had some help from his band mate John James Tourville. From there it grew to a full album with Tourville as well as Jack Lawrence from The Raconteurs and a number of ready Nashville session players.
They put together a relaxed, smooth country sound behind Downing’s distinctive deep baritone. I get a bit of a Barefoot Jerry feeling from his singing, but the music isn’t as twangy as most of Barefoot Jerry’s - in that sense it is more reminiscent of JJ Cale, perhaps. That’s an intriguing combination and hopefully it makes you curious enough to check some of his music out.
Here's "I'm Not Ready" - I like this song more each time I hear it. Something about the piano bit at the beginning, and the way his warm vocals just don't get too het up about anything, just gives a nice easy feeling. Though there is a bit of variety, this is a good taste of what the album's about:
And here is the title track, and a delightful, surrealistic video in a milieu that will be familiar to any music collector in Nashville (or who has visited Nashville):
The album is out now, on New West Records. And in a bit of a plug for the great folks at Grimey's, Riley signed some copies that they are selling on their website for local pickup.