Dax Riggs returns with Say Goodnight to the World, the second album he has released as a solo act. Riggs’ go to southern blues rock style is as tight as ever on this record, but his exploration of other styles continues to be uneven.
The heavy blues of “Say Goodnight to the World” is thick like 90 percent humidity and just as sweltering. Don’t be surprised if you’re sweating heading into the dry and dusty “I Hear Satan.”
This hot and grimy feel reaches its peak during Riggs’ cover of “Heartbreak Hotel.” He slows it down — maybe a tad too much — turning the song into a dirge. It’s dark, depressing and exactly the what you’d want to hear if you walked into a beaten up roadhouse somewhere between Memphis and New Orleans.
When Riggs ventures away from the blues, the results are varying. “You Were Born to be my Gallows” is a flimsy folk tune with falsetto vocals that make me want to hit the skip button. The back and forth between bright and dark sounds along with the never ending build make “Sleeping with the Witch” an exhausting listen.
“No One will be a Stranger” and “Gravedirt on my Blue Suede Shoes” are more successful attempts. The latter succeeds because of its combination of traditional and modern rock inspirations.
Riggs exits on the hazy “See you all in Hell or New Orleans” and it’s enough to help the good overcome the bad of Say Goodnight to the World.
Say Goodnight to the World releases August 3 on Fat Possum. A week later, Dax Riggs will play Cat’s Cradle on August 11. Tickets are $12.