Sam Riggs likes the experience of living on the edge, whether climbing mountains or flying planes, and it’s a similar edge experience that informs his new album “Love & Panic.”
“Love and panic are two emotions that go hand in hand, often times,” he explained. “Like falling in love on the edge of eternity.”
The Texas country singer-songwriter returns to Waco for a “pretty bangin’ show” at The Backyard on Friday night, noting that his live show was the standard he had in mind when producing the rocking country of “Love & Panic.”
Unlike past albums, Riggs wrote and recorded the songs in the same time frame. As a result, the excitement and freshness of creating a new song carried over in its recording, he said.
The album also borrowed the energy of Riggs’ collaboration with graphic artist Gary Dorsey to create its cover and related art. The two drafted a story with a science fiction setting whose emotional throughline works for songs like “Obsession” and “Until My Heart Stops Beating”: A man and woman meet on a planet under siege and, when she’s abducted in an alien tractor beam, he risks all to follow her.
A science fiction backstory? “It’s definitely new in country music, but to me, music is such an audiovisual experience,” he said. “I just want to plant seeds in a listener’s imagination.”
Riggs isn’t done with “Love & Panic” either, with an acoustic version backed by guitar, cello and percussion scheduled for release next month.
The energy and new perspective gained from living on the edge, whether in adventure, genres or media, is one that Riggs embodies in his life. He found pushing his boundaries in mountain climbing, extreme adventure and flying a plane a natural way to deal with stress and anxiety.
“It’s a good balance for me and helps me reset and rebalance,” he said. That’s the experience he tries to provide for others in his Air and Opportunity Adventure Company, which organizes back- packing and adventure experiences that move participants out of their comfort zone.
The company’s name comes from a word of advice from his father. “My dad would tell me, ‘The only thing standing between you and what you want in life is air and opportunity. Take a deep breath and get it,’ ” Riggs recalled.
Deep breaths, one might note, also work in cases of love and panic.