You can hear the anger in Levi Riggs’ voice when he sings his new single “Back in the Battle.”
“I think the anger comes from just seeing some of the apathy from people these days,” the singer-songwriter tells Taste of Country. “After the pandemic, it’s like people got used to being lazy. Let’s get back to really contributing and being a value to our neighbors, you know?”
Riggs is passionate enough about this belief that it propelled him to write the anthemic song alongside Chris Buck, and Brantley Gilbert’s guitarist, noted songwriter Noah Henson.
“We knew we wanted that thicker, aggressive rock tone,” the Indiana native says of “Back in the Battle,” a song premiering exclusively on Taste of Country. “We were just kind of all feeding off each other and got it done.”
Riggs hopes the song serves as a “kick in the butt” to all who hear it — it affected him that way.
“During the pandemic, I let my health kind of slide and alcohol crept in,” the singer admits. “I did a program that really just focused on my physical and mental health, and now I’ve been inspiring other people to do the same thing.”
“Back in the Battle” also partly materialized from a scary experience Riggs had not too long ago, when he was hit by a drunk driver on the way home from a show.
“I saw these headlights coming at me in my side mirrors,” he recalls. “This guy was moving pretty quick, and I didn’t see him slowing down, so I kind of braced, and then sure enough, he jolted me. He just ran right in the back of my trailer, smashed up some of my equipment and totaled my trailer.”
When Riggs got out to check if the other driver was okay, the man took off.
“The guy was totally hammered,” he says. “He was just kind of murmuring, and I realized he didn’t speak English. There was a gas station about 500 feet away, and I was like, ‘Let’s just pull up to this gas station.’ While I was on the phone with the police, a car came and picked him up, and then he left the scene.”
All Riggs could do was shake his head and be disappointed.
“In my hometown of Danville, Ind., we wave at each other going down the road,” he shares. “We hold the door open. If somebody’s broke down on the side of the road, somebody’s there to help figure it out. But sometimes, I look around at the greater society and I don’t see that kind of friendliness toward your fellow American.”
He’s hopeful his music can help with that.
“I want to motivate people to find their passion and get back to what makes them unique as people,” Riggs says.
Before “Back in the Battle,” Riggs was known for his singles “My Best Friend’s a Girl” and “I’m Good.”
The Top Country Songs of 2023, Ranked
The best country songs of 2023 fit snug over your life and experiences. Each is written from personal experiences, but somehow, that translates as if it were custom to each of us. We’ve loved, we’ve longed, we’ve lost and we’ve cut loose in the country.
Airplay charts, sales data and streaming numbers helped make this list of country music’s top songs of 2023, but staff and Taste of Country reader opinion were most influential. Songs included on previous Top Country Songs lists were not eligible. A song may have been released in 2022, but it had to have the majority of recorded airplay or impact this year to count.