He played two and a half years at Jacksonville State University as a walk-on. He hadn’t decided on a major yet and knew he had to do some serious thinking about that.
That thinking led him back to his first love – music.
As a freshman at JSU he played lead guitar in a band, Southern Harmony. That brought back a lot of memories of his late grandfather, Bufford Green, who was Green’s first musical inspiration.
The elder Green was instrumental in turning an old house in the Williams community into The Golden Saw which has a reputation for showcasing local talent and is filled to the brim on Friday nights. Riley was right beside his grandfather helping him as he transformed the once residential building into one of music and free entertainment.
“Back then, I wouldn’t sing in front of anybody, but my grandfather really helped me with that,” said Green. “He got me over my nerves. I actually wrote a song about him and sang it at his funeral a few years back. He felt like I had talent. He was my biggest fan.”
Green, 24, took guitar lessons from Tony Yardley, a local musician, when he was about 9. “He’s the best guitar teacher I’ve ever heard of out this way,” said Green. “He actually got to come out and played with me not too long ago at Loco Mex. That was petty neat.”
The third and fourth men who helped Green evolve as a musician were his father, Kevon Green, and Eric Clapton.
“My dad used to listen to Eric Clapton a lot so I did too,” said Green. “I thought that was cool.”
While playing football at JSU, Green became friends with one of the coaches, Adam Ross. Ross owns a 1991 Winnebago that, luckily, is just the right size to carry Green, his friends, his equipment and instruments to performances.
“We call it our tour bus,” said Green. “It looks pretty junky when we pull up to other vehicles that are bigger and nicer.”
Ross and another friend, John Roberts are Green’s “unofficial managers. Adam lives in Marietta, Ga., now, but he manages to come down every other weekend and go with me when I play. Adam and John are a big help to me.”
Green said the two friends help him book performances, keep track of where and when they are and help him get there.
A few weeks ago Green opened for Colt Ford at Oak Mountain Amphitheater. He will open for Confederate Railroad in Heflin on June 8.
“I’m excited about that,” he said. “It’s sort of amazing to me that I get to do this stuff.”
Green likes most any kind of music, but prefers country and classic rock. He sings a lot of original songs as well as songs he has written himself. He began writing music at 14.
“Most of them are relatable songs,” he said. “They’re the kind of music you might imagine a 24 or 25 year old would write about. It’s about stuff I know about.”
A few months ago he had the opportunity to go to Nashville’s Ruckus Room where he recorded four songs he wrote – “A Little Hank,” “North on 21,” “Almost” and “Something Bout her Dixie.”
He wrote “God Was in Alabama This Year,” after the destructive tornadoes on April 27, 2011.
His next goal is to make an album.
“The guys in Nashville are negotiating terms of a contract to make an album for me,” he said. “They’ll get a percentage of the royalties. It probably wouldn’t be real smart for me to answer questions pertaining to that. I’ve got Adam and John to answer those questions.”
Green’s website is rileygreenmusic.com
“My mom and a few other people have put a bio page on there,” he said. “I only read it the other day.”
It’s on that page that Green expresses a desire for his love of music to “make people feel at home and entertained.”
Green said he appreciates all the work his mother, Karen, puts in on getting his CDs ready to be sold. His sisters are Lindy Currier of Prattville and Casey Maples of Jacksonville. He has two nieces and two nephews.
Green likes to duck and turkey hunt with his yellow lab, Sadie.
Locally, he has performed at Loco Mex, Hero’s, Brothers, Pelham’s, Jefferson’s and Struts.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.