“The only thing standing between you and what you want in life is air and opportunity. Take a deep breath and go get it.”
His father’s words made a huge impression on Sam Riggs, and the Texas singer/songwriter is a relentless adventurer, a guy who pursues music, flying and mountain climbing with equal amounts of passion. They’re all unpredictable activities that require some level of risk for an adrenaline-infused reward, the same payoff he gets from Love & Panic, an album that explores the highs and lows of the ultimate gamble: romantic relationships.
“Love & Panicis kind of an unfiltered, in-your-face record that came from that mindset of ‘This is me, like it or not,’” Riggs says.
There is much to like about Riggs, whose rock-tinged brand of country folds in such diverse influences as Blink-182, 3 Doors Down, George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. He self-released his first two albums, then partnered with independent firms for his third and fourth releases, including Breathless, which went to No. 12 on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts.
A number of his singles hit the upper levels of the Texas charts, including the ultra-country “Hold On And Let Go,” the thumping concert re-creation “High On A Country Song” and his vulnerable “Second Hand Smoke.” To top it off, Riggs picked up the Texas Regional Radio Award in 2016 for Top New Male Vocalist.
A hike with his brother through the beautiful-but-challenging Zion Narrows in Utah’s Zion National Park cleansed Riggs’ soul and rejuvenated his sense of adventure. As a result, Riggs founded the Air and Opportunity Adventure Company, a firm that oversees hikes, climbs, private flights and helicopter rides, all designed to challenge people’s limits and help them develop the tools and confidence to battle depression, anxiety and other issues.
Riggs’ extreme exploits also gave him the courage to dive into the relationship issues at the heart of Love & Panic. The topics have universal value, and the album furthers his undeniable desire to connect with the world through music.
“I don’t play music to be famous,” he says. “I play music and I write songs because it comes naturally to me and it feels good to express emotion that way. But also because there’s a torch to be carried.”