20 Mar, 2015

Renaissance Men

Huzzah! It’s nice to be such a well-rounded master of so many fabulously interesting topics. We like to rock, we like to swing. I’m a poet and nobody even knows it! Light on my feet and easy on the eyes? maybe not.

I am truly fortunate to have been invited to accompany Professor and Vocal coach,Sean Teets in a faculty recital at Benedictine College.

Sean’s fairly new to the BC family, everyone making him a part of the family and we are so lucky to have him on board.

It’s not a purely “Renaissance” concert with a few pieces by the modern master, Benjamin Britten.

It’s been a good, long while since I’ve had an opportunity to play this music in this type of setting. It’s been a blast to work on this music and I am really looking forward to playing the concert with Sean.

May 31, 730pm
Benedictine College in Atchison KS
O’Malley McAllister Theater.


18 Mar, 2015

Leprechaun Apocalypse

In case you didn’t know it… my daddy was a Riley and my momma was an O’Riley. So what that means is, I don’t do well in the sunshine and anything just a little spicy makes me sweat. We’re talking ketchup makes me flush.

And come St. Patrick’s Day, our house is a huge target for mischief.

Today was no exception. Those little B@$%&!@# T.P’d us and turned the organic fat free milk GREEN.

No harm done I guess. At least we’re snake free for one more year.

Sláinte and Happy St. Patty’s to you.


12 Mar, 2015

Soca Jukebox with BACHACO


Hit Maker’s Music Presents




The Scene Rock Bar
14816 E. US HWY 40
Kansas City, MO

BACHACO is an international Afro-Caribbean Roots Rock band based out of Miami, Florida in the U.S. Their music successfully blends feel-good and conscious lyrics through the mix of Reggae, Dancehall and Ska with Rock, Hip-Hop and Colombian Cumbia. Their recent and much anticipated self-titled independent debut album is out now and features their hit singles “Cumbia Pa’ La Nena” and “Ni Una Lagrima” Their “Cumbia Pa’ La Nena” video, produced by Latin Grammy Winner video director Cesar Rodriguez, achieved rotation on MTV Tr3s and MTV Latin America. BACHACO was also selected as “Descubre & Download” Artist of the Month on the MTV Tr3s website during November 2012 where visitors downloaded the hit single “Cumbia Pa’ La Nena” completely free. Both singles reached the top 20 charts on AOL Radio’s Rock Latino station with “Cumbia pa’ la Nena” on #3 and “Ni Una Lagrima” on #1. BACHACO’s debut album also includes the hit singles “Jamaican Cumbia” as well as a special collaboration with South American Reggae legends Gondwana on “Cruzando Fronteras.”


3 Mar, 2015

Guitar Festival, Chartres France


I am very excited to announce that I’ll be a guest clinician at “Red Socks and the Guitar”, a guitar festival in Chartres, France this summer.

Looking forward to seeing the crew there again. It’s been a few years since I’ve been over.

Besides teaching some masterclasses and private lessons, I’ve got a couple of very special clinics in the works towards Jazz guitar and other styles.

The festival is sponsored by the International Center and the School of Music at the University of Missouri-Columbia and directed by my partner in the Nova Project, Anthony Glise. Our friends and partners, Ken Sugita will also be on hand to inspire us and ‘House-Mother’, Sylvia Turrell will keep us all in line!

The boys are back in town! Soon anyway and I can’t wait.Screen shot 2014-12-04 at 2.40.43 PMScreen shot 2014-12-04 at 2.41.10 PMScreen shot 2014-12-04 at 2.41.23 PM

24 Feb, 2015

Folk Alliance International 2015 – The JR Experience

Maria the Mexican just finished a 5 day weekend of showcases and camaraderie and this year’s Folk Alliance International Conference in KC. All I can say is “Gosh!, Wow! and What a deal!”. Ok… I’ve got lots more to say than that about this amazing conference in our own back yard.

Over 200 acts from around the world came to the deep-wintertime, “Paris of the Plains” to participate in the week long showcase and conference and/or the music fair and camp at the Westin Crown Center and Sheraton Hotels.

The camp and conference offered a plethora or options for clinics, seminars, master-classes, concerts, special presentations, awards ceremonies, jam sessions and meet-ups.

Bela Fleck was a big name that I missed! Boo.

The term “Folk” is pretty inclusive here with artists in almost every subgenre from ethnic music, old-time, bluegrass, acoustic, electric freakouts, singer-songwriter, spoken-word, jazz, jam and beyond.

My week with MtM included 5 performances, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, hanging out, going to as much as possible and pulling some all-nighters in the private room showcases (fueled responsibly by KC’s own J. Reiger’s Whiskey and Boulevard beer). Plainly said… this was great!!!

Here’s some of the highlights..

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Big thanks to MtM, the bands, our friends, volunteers and conference folks that made this a truly memorable experience. We’re lucky to have this in KC.

Looking forward to next year!!!

18 Feb, 2015

Maria the Mexican at The Folk Alliance International Conference

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Maria the Mexican is honored to be selected for an official showcase at this week’s Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City.

The band will perform for a total of 4 showcases and one off-site show at Knucklehead’s. The conference is hosting acts from all-over the world. Everyone completely takes of the Westin Crown Center hotel for ’round the clock seminars, concerts, key-speakers and jamming!

It’s kind of a big deal!!!

24 Jan, 2015

Maria The Mexican – Besame Mucho Live

New Live Video from Maria the Mexican

Recorded Live at the Voodoo Lounge, 2014!

Maria Cuevas – vox, guitar
Teresa (Tess) Cuevas – vox
Garrett Nordstrom – guitar
Ken Lovern – B-3 organ
Mike Patrum – drums
Craig Kew – bass
JPR – guitar

Matthew Russo – Audio Mixing
Tim Huggins – Video Editing

20 Jan, 2015

Music Teachers National Association


It appears I’m finally a member in good standing! MTNA is a great organization the gives benefit and support to the important work done by American Music Educators.

We also have a wonderful local chapter, The St. Joseph Area Music Teachers Association or SJAMTA that is filled with a talented and caring cast of friends and colleagues. Looking forward to working along side them in strengthening the bonds of music and art for all ages in our community.

8 Jan, 2015

The 365 Day Guitar Challenge

Big Pick Master“Only practice the days you sleep and the days you eat!” Sounds simple enough?

When I was younger, my dream was to be a professional musician. There is an old adage that says “you are what you eat” so with that logic if I pick up my instrument everyday (maybe even work or play at it a little), eventually I’ll become a real instrumentalist.

That’s been my simplest philosophy for a long time. I’m sure my students hear it a lot. Easier said than done, though. Keep it in mind the next time you’re thinking about skipping a meal or pulling an all-nighter.

Another part of the exercise is the realization that you can never make up a missed day. That opportunity is gone and you can’t get it back. Might as well just pick that thing up for a few minutes RIGHT NOW and mark off today.

I’ll admit, I’ll have to miss a day now and then. Life is hectic, things happen or if you’re a younger musician, your time may not be your own to schedule. I try not to make a habit of missing it though. I’m a guitarist so I play guitar… everyday. Thanks to gigs and students being around, I am forced to pick it up even when I may not exactly be “in the mood”. That’s a huge benefit of this routine too.

Maybe you’d like to participate with me in the 365 Day Guitar Challenge this year? Drop me a note and I’ll send you the form! jason@jasonriley.com

Actually it doesn’t have to be about the guitar, just anything you want to imbed into the routine of your daily life. It works great for all kind of things! Languages, exercise, creative skills or whatever. Write everyday… You’re a writer! Juggle everyday… (you might need some other help but…) You’re a juggler!

For me, this is not about the total time spent. Sure you could pick it up and practice diligently for hours but the real exercise is in just picking it up and holding your instrument a little everyday.

Remember, only the days you sleep or the days you eat! Now who does that? Musicians do that.

31 Dec, 2014

Coda 2014 – The Year In Review

2014 was not a year for the timid or faint of heart. It was 365 days of plectrum to the string and pedal to the metal to get it all in.

133 shows with 10 different acts and roughly 20,000 miles traveled. I’ve literally got the best job ever. What a gift to be able to play fun music with great friends.

Some really cool things happened for us this year including a few firsts for me.

Big “THANK YOU” to the musicians, friends, family and fans that fuel this perpetual motion machine. I’m grateful.

Without further ado… Here’s a few highlights from 2014!!!!

Maria the Mexican was invited to perform for the Midwest Takeover in Austin, Texas during this year’s SXSW conference. This was my first opportunity to take part in this annual meeting of all media.

I was cruising with bassist, Craig Kew and Organist, Ken Lovern. We scoured the entire Texas city in search of a C3 Hammond organ and leslie for Ken to play during our showcase. We played our show and took it right back. Thanks organ guy!

Hoodoo @ the Voodoo ’14Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 10.10.54 AM

If you ever get the chance to get 20 or your closest friends and favorite musicians on one stage together, I suggest you just go for it. This will be one of my great memories for a long time to come. MtM, Soca J and UTI on stage for one night together at the Voodoo Lounge.

We have tons of great video and photos from that night that we’re still going through. Incredible to have so many family and friends there for this one.
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Soca Summer Tour

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Soca Jukebox was on the road non-stop for one of the busiest seasons the band has ever seen. We spent a lot of time in getting the routing right for this one to pull out a record number of dates in just a few months.

Soca releases Live Voodoo & Live Voodoo Too
voodoo The very first commercial release for Soca Jukebox! Congratulations guys. This one has been a long time coming. The culmination of 2 live recordings (also from the Voodoo Lounge) released as a limited edition CD.

My First Baseball Game.

IMG_1105So… believe it or not, I’ve never been to a REAL baseball game… like in a stadium. When Soca was playing in Des Moines for Chris and Erin’s wedding, they invited us all down to the Iowa Cubs game for the day-after celebration.

Now I’m totally sold on going more often. I’ll just presume that whenever I get to go, we’ll have our sky-box full of food, libation and fun folks.

Maria The Mexican’s “Moon Colored Jade” receives Independent Music Award for Album Art.
So proud of our art for this record and the work of the Artist, Angie Pickman at RuralPearl.com. Her piece was a standout in the category and she really earned it. Congratulations, Angie!

5452519448947.image Once in a great while I’ll get the opportunity to work on a larger scale broadway-style musical production. They are a lot of fun, a lot of work for a lot of folks and draw on a slightly different set of skills.

I jumped at the chance to do this one!

Word of Life Christmas Show
IMG_1358 This show is an annual event for The Word of Life Church. It was epic in every sense of the word. This was another one for my wish list. Incredible arrangements including jazz, rock and funk style. Too Much Fun.

BIG THANKS to my whole family and to my brothers and sisters in music…
UTI, Soca, Pig Farmer, The Nova Project, Ed Daniels, Maria the Mexican, Bryan Alford, Larry at Awestruck, Joel at Element, Matthew Russo, Ben Brodin at ARC, Lisa at Chism PR, Amy at Backstory Images, Brian Turner, Eric Stark, The Reverend Jimmie Bratcher, The Regular Joe, Shea, Andrew and Todd at the News Press, Rick Brown, the Music dept. of MWSU and Benedictine College, this year’s fairs and festival boards, all our agencies, Andrew Riley at Keen Meanie Design, Wegen Picks, Dean Markley Strings, Godin Guitars, David Burke, Photographers, Videographers, Sound and Lighting Crews, Fat Guys in Women’s t-shirts and everyone on our select mailing list. You guys are the best and we wouldn’t be here without you.

Happy New Year!!!!!
I could talk at length about almost any show this year, the people we met and what it took to pull it off.

2015 is already holding some really magnificent opportunities for us and I can’t wait to share them.

Thanks for being a part of the journey with us. Wishing you and yours all the best in the new year. Peace.

jason and co.