By Jessica Cohea
The pure thought of being in the presence of stars like Brad Paisley, George Strait, Tim McGraw and Johnny Cash is enough to make my heart skip a beat. Country music has been a part of my life since before I can remember. I have developed more than a love for country music. It’s my passion.
Thanks to new, up-and-coming country singer, Levi Riggs, I was able to experience a mix of these country legends and more on Friday, Feb. 11 here on Olivet’s home turf – Kresge Auditorium.
I have to admit, though, that I was hesitant to attend the event because I had never heard Riggs’ name before.
Lesson learned: don’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s not too often that Olivet students get an opportunity like this on campus; one where the night’s main attraction walks out on stage in a flannel shirt and cowboy boots. That may not appeal to many people on campus, but for those of us that do enjoy the country twang, his clothes felt like home.
The crowd was both older and younger than the normal Olivet event. The lack of college-aged people in the audience may have been due to Winter Break that started that weekend as well. The lack of Olivet students that attended should not be seen as a disappointment to Riggs and his band, but rather as an effect of bad timing.
My boyfriend and I may have been among the only 20-something audience members, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
Riggs started the night with “Southern Voice” by Tim McGraw. Right off the bat I was shocked. His southern voice sounded like southern heaven.
Riggs was authentic and genuine all the way through the night, just like a good country boy should be.
Most of the concert was a medley of cover songs. The group’s best renditions were “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Country Man” by Luke Bryan and “Welcome to the Future” by Brad Paisley.
The band also stepped out of the country genre and tackled great hits like “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours”, by Stevie Wonder.
The only cover I was a little turned off by was “Little White Church”, by Little Big Town. It was not a horrible version to listen to, by any means, but I could tell that the lead singer for it, Riggs’ sister, Lauren Riggs, was nervous to do this solo.
Her voice was shaky and, at times, out of tune. It seemed like she was trying too hard to impress her audience. She did other solos throughout the night and sang beautifully. This just was not her shining moment.
Riggs’ original songs were the most memorable of the night. The song that resonates in my heart and mind is “Headed Home”. Levi and Lauren co-wrote this song for a friend of theirs that passed away a few years ago while test-driving a motorcycle.
The song says that God called Josh home that sunny day. My heart broke the moment I heard this for the family that lost a son.
I highly encourage everyone, country music fan or not, to listen to this song. Look it up on YouTube. Levi and Lauren did an incredible job with the lyrics. The song is heartfelt and sorrowful, but a hit for sure.
The night ended with another original, “Tailgate Time.” Definitely a country song, but good for football fans too.
In total, the concert only lasted about an hour and a half. I didn’t want it to end.
Riggs was available for signing autographs and taking pictures in Larsen’s lobby when it was all said and done. Of course I got his John Hancock. Riggs is country gold.