Live Review Oct. 12, 2004 in Pueblo, CO "There Must Be a Special Place in Heaven for the Mothers of Musicians...," this is what Jason Riggs wrote in a CD copy of his new album, Pawn Shop Special, that I had purchased for my mom at the break in the show. Jason gave an excellent performance at his acoustic gallery on October 12, 2004. The crowd was a little thin at the Irish Pub, but that had no effect on Jason. He played the show as if it was a full house. With acoustic guitar in hand and the occasional hamonica, he entertained us for two sets, playing mostly originals from his first album, These Wheels, and his most recent release Pawn Shop Special as well as some brand new songs which will hopefully be on the next release. And just for the hell of it, he even threw in his take on Johnny Cash in a solo guitar version of "I Walk the Line." The whole show was very entertaining from the opening arpeggio's right on down to the last single chord strum. Jason has a very intricate way of weaving stories together into simple, catchy, and great songs. There was one he did that I really liked, but couldn't get out of my head for the next week. The song was "Everday Like This" and I had to keep asking what the title was. Jason had a habit of telling stories to the audience that was very similar to the work of Utah Philips, who would always open a song with a tale from the road. Jason did just that in song like "This Machine", "Everyday Like This", "My Heart's Not Broken Anymore" and many others. He also did a few new tunes and one in particular I liked was political. He introduced himself as 'Your Write-In Candidate' for the presidential election that really got the audience going. Highlights of the evening include all the stage banter, storytelling, and of course the music. There was also a real good moment when right at the end of the song, Jason paused. We thought the song was over as he got a drink of water, but sure enough, the song started back up again and ended a minute later. It was great, but you really had to be there...I would suggest seeing Jason in concert. You can find a tour schedule and CD information at http://www.jasonriggs.com” - David Buck

— P.S.M.A. Notes

Song Review of "Everyday Like This" January, 2005 Simplicity permeates this song all though it beguiles. Every sound has its place from the motor style guitar and hand thump to the crisp shaker and pedal steel guitar soaring above the vocals that have a satisfied attitude about them. Remember the early recordings of Elvis and Harry Belifonte on RCA, that almost empty hall effect? There is a beautifiul picture of domesticity. This song is a snap shot of the mythical boy and girl relationship. It conjures up the dream romance that never came for most of us. The repetitive nature of the chords with the droning bass allows us to stay in their world. Happy, warm and in love. I'm waiting for her to get off work too and I want to leave this town with her, where are my keys?... The way the song travels from 1st verse-bedroom, kitchen, 2nd verse-car, highway, bridege-advice to 3rd verse-dinner booth, adios to bliss is a smooth transition. The line, "Everybody's dancing like the songs about to end" is fabulous imagery in the bridge. The one thing that would help is if it was easier to hear the words. The second time through I able to get them all. The understated solo interlude does not over shadow the overall lovey-dovey atmosphere and keeps with tone of the song. Having the pedal steel guitar echo the "la da da da da" at the end reinforces the "this is going to last forever" feeling. To be able to capture the sights and smells of a moment and place them in time is the goal of any writer.” - Peter Burg

— Pueblo Songwriter & Musicians Association Newsletter

JASON RIGGS He describes himself as a “singer-songwriter with nothing left to lose” and “desperate, but optimistic,” and kicks off his latest record, Pawn Shop Special (JasonRiggs.com), with an unabashed tribute to Woody Guthrie, “This Machine”—as in “This Machine Kills Fascists.” New Mexico expat Jason Riggs is a real-deal folk singer with grimy fingers in Americana and rock, spinning haunting yarns like “Stronger than Death” as only a former semiconductor plant worker could. SATURDAY, July 17 @ Little Union Theater, University of Utah, 8 p.m.” - Bill Frost

— Salt Lake Weekly-Music Picks 7/14/04

Singer-songwriter and former Albuquerque resident Jason Riggs will be back in town for the first time in many moons on Saturday, July 10, for a CD release concert at Winning's Coffee at 8 p.m. The CD, titled Pawn Shop Special, contains a track or two locals might recognize from Riggs' debut released back in the Dingo days, but it's full of new material that's quite refreshing. Visit www.jasonriggs.com to get a copy of the new record or pick one up at the show.” - Michael Henningsen

— Weekly Alibi-Music to Your Ears 7/8/04

Jason Riggs will sing at The Daily Grind on Monday evening. Singer returns for Daily Grind show A musician who is lauded for easily cycling "between haunting ballads and guitar-propelled rock" is scheduled for a single performance at 7 p.m. Monday at The Daily Grind Espresso Bar, 209 S. Union Ave. New Mexico native Jason Riggs, who spent about five years in Pueblo, said his brand of music is "Americana, you know, some rock ’n’ roll, country and folk, all tied together." He is both a singer and songwriter. I spent six years in a soul-sucking day job at an Albuquerque semiconductor plant and played guitar at night," the 33-year-old musician said. "My big break came when I got laid off the job and, separation check in hand, started my own independent record label, BINGO Recordings, and I released my first album, ‘These Wheels.’ ” Riggs is on a multi-state regional tour promoting his new 11-cut album, "Pawn Shop Special." He's no stranger to Pueblo, having played for at least three Pueblo Songwriters and Musicians Association-sponsored Acoustic Gallery shows. There's more information about the artist on www.jasonriggs.com and information about his CD on CDBaby.com.” - Marvin Read

— Pueblo Chieftan-6/25/04

Top Entertainment Stories ...uniqueness of Americana Jason Riggs’ latest CD, ‘Pawn Shop Special,’ hits Laramie Much of the uniqueness of Americana is told through a microphone accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Jason Riggs, who’s new album “Pawn Shop Special” was recently released, will come to Laramie bringing with him stories of growing up and finding a place. Riggs came to Laramie to promote his last album, in 1999, but hasn’t been back since for multitudes of reasons, he said. Nonetheless, he added, he’s enthusiastic in his belated return. “It’s a little different than my first one. In some ways it’s more stripped down, in some ways it’s less stripped down, as far as production goes,” Riggs said. “This one was actually recorded very old fashioned on analogue tape.” The initial recording and mixing were all done manually without the help of many of the current recording tools, Riggs said. The idea, he added, is a more authentic sound. “I had chosen the studio because a lot of the stuff I’d heard from there had kind of an … old record sound,” Riggs said. “I don’t think (the record) sounds extremely old or anything, but I do think that recording on the analogue kind of helped the spirit of things.” Riggs doesn’t want the record to sound old, but recording it in the way he did helps the music sound ageless. He does attribute one of the songs and much of the sound to listening to old Hank Williams songs on a less than top of the line turntable. Whether or not the album will carry the sound and the feelings to its listeners is one of many things Riggs questions. “You never feel like you really — well, any artist that thinks they’ve succeeded, I’m not sure I want to know them,” he said. Riggs makes it clear that he would play the music even if no one was there to listen. The name, “Pawn Shop Special,” comes from Riggs’ experiences in music performance. Many years ago, when he was with an entire band, he was playing in a bar in Albuquerque, N.M., when his Gibson gave him a hard time. “Every gig something went wrong with it. If a knob wasn’t falling off, or you know — you’re putting it on one channel and you’re getting feedback like crazy,” Riggs said. “This fella that was in this other band came up and he told me that, ‘pawn shop special.’” The album, and the first song especially, reflects the enthusiasm that creativity evokes and the reality of how common many people’s aspirations are, Riggs said. While he realizes how life as a musician isn’t always a promising endeavor, Riggs carries a positive attitude and an enthusiasm for his music. The album, which is dedicated to Riggs’ grandmothers, has been in the works for some time. “For about two years now I’ve been thinking this record would be out in six months,” Riggs said. “And something always came up. I had a hard time getting it the way I wanted it.” Riggs recorded the album five times before he was finally happy. The problem was that all the music needed to be recorded together, instead of multi-tracked the way it usually is. Finally when he was ready to record the album with only himself and his guitar, he found studio musicians that could make it happen with him. The show is still a solo act, but Riggs was in a complete band at one time, but because of complications with making all the components fit, he went out on his own. Since being on his own, he’s had less complications with getting shows. Sticking to coffee houses and smaller gatherings, Riggs enjoys his career as a solo musician. Jason Riggs will play at Coal Creek Coffee House Friday at 8 p.m.” - James Myers

— Laramie Boomerang-6/24/04

Riggs, Parke return to Acoustic Gallery Stage The last time local musicians Jason Riggs and Steve Parke performed on the Acoustic Gallery concert stage, it was a memorable evening. It was Sept. 11. Despite the day's horrific events, the show went on as scheduled, although both Riggs and Parke played abbreviated sets in front of a small crowd. Parke, assisted by Riggs' backup vocals and harmonica, concluded the emotional night with a rendition of Bob Dylan’s "Blowin’ in the Wind." Riggs and Parke will return to the Acoustic Gallery spotlight, under less stressful circumstances, on Tuesday night at the Riverwalk Restaurant and Lounge, 219 S. Grand Ave. The singer/songwriters will play from 7 to 9 p.m., and admission is free. The Acoustic Gallery concerts, held on the second Tuesday of each month, are sponsored by the Pueblo Songwriters and Musicians Association and used to showcase local musicians. Riggs' compact disc, "These Wheels," will be for sale at the concert. All proceeds from the album sales on Tuesday will be donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. ©1996-2000 The pueblo Chieftain Online” - Scott Smith

— Pueblo Chieftain-11/9/01

Local singer/songwriter Jason Riggs will take time out from working on his second CD to perform Tuesday night at this month's Acoustic Gallery concert. Riggs - guitar in hand and original songs on his lips - will play from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Riverwalk Restaurant and Lounge, 219 S. Grand Ave. There is no admission for the concert, which is sponsored by the Pueblo Songwriters and Musicians Association. Riggs' musical influences include Johnny Cash, the Ramones, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, but his sound is strictly his own: a mix of Americana, folk and rock.” - unknown

— Pueblo Chieftain-9/9/01

Jason Riggs checks out of Heartbreak Hotel ...drive endlessly in search of that dream lover. There's a working man's riff and rhyme to Pueblo singer-songwriter Jason Riggs' debut release, "These Wheels," though he doesn't quite see it that way. I wanted that concentrated theme, but I didn't want it to be like a jukebox in a waffle house with truckers," Riggs said. Point it out to Riggs, 28, and he's surprised, but he will concede that the record does, at times, strike a "Born to Run" chord. I like the steel town aspect of it," Riggs said. But it's hard not to ignore the possibility that "These Wheels" is meant for any guy who worked all summer at construction, just wishing he could split town and drive endlessly in search of that dream lover. It's evident in the titles of many of the tracks: "Voices in the Wind," "Windows Rolled Down," "These Wheels," "Sunsets." Sounds like Riggs is that guy, and he has driving on his mind. He did, a few years ago, when he dropped out of college, swung different day jobs (the last in semiconductor plant) and lacked a significant other. Yes, a trip to Memphis - the ol' heart of rock and roll- was in order. "I hated my job and I was single, and I hated being single, and my apartment was lame," Riggs said. "It just seemed like a good idea to get out of town." But, before he did, Riggs wrote the album's title track and a tune he says is its central point, with the opening lyrics "Something in the air's got me feeling down/nowhere I can breathe in the fumes of this town" reflecting all the frustration and wanderlust wrapped into a dirty work jacket. Sounds like Springsteen doesn't it? Every time I wanted to go home," Riggs said of traveling from Albuquerque to Pueblo where his folks lived, "there was this big long drive. So when you're playing Springsteen's music when you drive, I don't know, it does something to you." Though it sounds like an outtake from Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell," Riggs said the album's opener, "Remember the Night," is maybe the most Springsteenesque track on the record--but it's not like he's trying to be from New Jersey. "I also do an 'oh-oh' that's a total rip from the Ronnettes," he said. "That whole Phil Spector sound was a big influence on both Springsteen and the Meatloaf album, from what I've read." Getting closer now to classic sounds, Riggs said he was never a big fan of the 80's mix growing up, opting to wear out his copy of the "American Graffiti" soundtrack instead of the something like a Soft Cell record. And if you couldn't tell, "These Wheels" has its share of sad songs and loverboy blues. Where do you think that comes from? Um, lack of a girlfriend is what started it," he said. "I gues that's a little obvious, huh?" But have no fear. He's now with girlfriend and feeling fine. However, Riggs' is preparing to go back into the studio for a follow-up to "These Wheels," the album ridden with ballads and heartbroken anthems, written back in the days when long drives south eased the pain. I can always spin off a heartbreak song...," Riggs said with confidence. So no worries-- we'd like to think. ...But yeah, my girlfriend was letting me know," he added, "that's getting a little old with her." Riggs will appear on Wyoming Public Radio's "All Things Acoustic" with Heidi Nibbelink Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by a performance at Coal Creek at 8 p.m.” - Eric Rohr (Boomerang Features Writer)

— Laramie Boomerang-1/19/00

...heavy on the words ... backed by acoustic melodies. Jason Riggs is a passionate man. The singer-songwriter from Albuquerque is a minstrel, traveling around the Southwest in his pickup truck singing about life and love to whoever cares to listen. The troubadour life began when Riggs was laid off from his "soul-sucking" job at a semiconductor plant. He decided that he had had enough with the day jobs and set off to find fame and fortune through his music. He created his own recording label and produced a debut CD, These Wheels. The album is heavily influenced by the everyday-man sound of John Mellencamp (pre- and post-Cougar), the youthful passion of Bruce Springsteen and the romanticism of Johnny Cash. These Wheels highlights Riggs' own emotional fervor, with every single song dwelling on past loves, past adventures, past relationships or future pain. The CD focus more on lyricism than instrumentation, with most songs heavy on the words but backed by acoustic melodies. Kiren Bahm adds a striking violin solo on "Every Word," and Andrew Fietek's organ, accordion and mandolin appear throughout. Riggs plays his own guitars, and Roger Jameson and Kenn Rodriguez help out on bass and drums, respectively. Riggs' travels ended up in Pueblo, which he now calls home. He'll be setting out again on his "Acoustic...and Alone" tour, playing coffeehouses throughout the area until February. The tour begins with his performance Friday night at Starbucks. Call 719-265-9291 to find out more.” - Kirsten Sherwood

— Colorado Springs Independent-1/6/2000

Acoustic Gallery to feature Riggs' Brand of folk music He plays music from the heart-and the heartland: some folk tunes, or Americana if you will, with a smidgen of rock’n’roll thrown in for good measure. But whether his guitar of the moment happens to be acoustic or electric, Jason Riggs creates sounds that audiences applaud. On Tuesday night, his style will be unplugged, as befitting a performance at the Acoustic Gallery at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. Riggs, a 28-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native who now lives in Pueblo, will perform at 7pm at the arts center. What should listeners expect? Plenty of original works from a singer/songwriter who says he wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to sing about it. With a raspy, deep voice, Riggs will regale the crowd with passionate tales from real life-songs of unrequited love, escape, and redemption. The song titles from his first CD, “These Wheels,” reflect Riggs’ creative direction and personal experiences: “Remember the Night,” “Voices in the Wind,” “Windows Rolled Down,” “Run Where You Will,” and “Sunsets.” After being laid off from his job in a New Mexico semiconductor plant last year, Riggs has worked full-time polishing his music. He’s toured the Southwest, publicized his CD and even created his own recording label. Riggs’ musical influences include Johnny Cash, the Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel. Also appearing at the Acoustic Gallery will be local guitarist/singer David Gouge. Gouge calls his style traditional picking and strumming, an “Austin” type of country sound. Gouge’s musical inspirations include Keith Richards, Willie Dixon, Woody Guthrie, and Ralph Stanley.”

— Pueblo Chieftan-10/9/1999