Herlin RileyI can’t remember the first time I heard Herlin Riley play the drums. Maybe it’s because his is a sound that’s timeless – a sound that has at its foundation the various musical styles that make the New Orleans sound so unique. It’s gospel; it’s the blues; it’s the sound of celebration, the sound of life.

And while I can’t recall the first time, I can certainly recall a countless number of times that I marveled at how so much sound, so much life, could come from the drum. If the body needs a pulse to be considered alive, then music too needs its pulse. Herlin Riley is at the heart of this music – he is its pulse; he is its soul.

Tod A. Smith