First thing you're going to notice might be the extremely well written story songs (on his website it notes he won the 2009 International Songwriting Competition and it very easy to hear the reasons) they tell a story without lots of doubling back and stretched lines. It is possible it might be the diversity of musical genres this gentleman uses (the disc holds together as a wonderful entity), though he is classified as Country, I might say folk/country, you will hear Cajun, some claw-hammer banjo, a bit of Rock a la Buffalo Springfield, and just some damn fine songs. It is possible that the variety of the songs and the fine playing on the disc might be the first thing to grab you. But then you are going to settle into his music and wonder where he has been when all these people who wouldn't know an apple from a road apple (for those that don't know road apples come from the hind end of a horse), and to top that can't carry a tune in saddlebags are getting airplay and this man isn't, or he isn't getting much. Well that has often been the way; pretty looking have-nots with good PR get on the air while talent sometimes languishes on the sidelines. However here we have a gem that is undiscovered as yet. There is great songwriting, and that includes the thought and the assemblage of words to express that thought, and melody, and as a bonus most of it is good dance music.
Though he plays a number of instruments he has put together a tight little group to help him present these songs for us. He has Hiromasa Suzuki on electric guitar and national steel guitar; Bruce Gordon on bass, pretty harmony vocal and hand claps; Robin Khemani on drums, guitar case, wicker basket and tambourine and Santo Mollica plays conga, djembe, broken tambourine-shaker, bean bag, shaker, and hand claps, quite an eclectic collection of instruments if you consider that Rilley plays piano, acoustic guitar, rub board, accordion, conga, Jimmy's mandolin, shaker, hi-hat, and does lead and background vocals as well as programming. Yet this disc works ,and it is one of the most pleasant and intriguing CD's I've run across in a long time and the songs just seems to grow on me.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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