5 Drummerszone artists - Jim Riley

Jim Riley
United States
Jim Riley of the Rascal Flatts is a well-known player in the Nashville scene since 1997. Jim's first break in Nashville came in 1998, when he was hired to drum with Mark Chesnutt.

In 1999 Jim Riley toured with Hank Williams III, but it was when he joined then unknown Rascal Flatts that things took off. You can hear him on the two latest Rascal Flatts albums as well as Brian McKnight's Ten.

On TV, Jim played The Grammy Show, Letterman, Leno, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, the American Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, and The Academy of Country Music Awards and others.

Jim Riley was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and from an early age, showed real interest in music. He began his formal studies of percussion at age 12, the same year he began singing with the Youth Pro Musica choir. In High school, Jim began his studies with Boston Symphony percussionist, Arthur Press. In addition to Participating in the Natick High band program, Jim was also performing with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble. He was also elected to All State his final three years in school.

Upon graduation, he attended the University of North Texas, where the studied drums with Ed Soph and Timpani with The Dallas Symphonys Kal Cherry. During his Tenure at NT, Jim Riley was heavily involved with their nationally acclaimed Jazz program, as well as being a member of the top orchestra, wind ensemble, and percussion ensemble at the university. In the area of marching percussion, Jim performed with the NT drumline, where they won 5 national championships. He also played in the Drum Corps International Finals as a member of the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps.

After receiving his degree in Music Education, Jim Riley accepted a position as the Head of Percussion Studies for the Coppell Independent School District in Coppell, TX. In 1995, Jim moved to Kansas City in pursuit of his dreams to be a professional musician. While recording with local guitarist Jeff Scheetz, he took a job with Kansas City Drumworks building and selling custom drums. It was at this time that Jim began his long relationship with The VPR Creative Group as a writer and performer with the Sticks of Thunder percussion ensemble.

In 1997, Jim Riley made the move to Nashville looking to further his career as a performer. Less than a year later, he was playing with Country artist Mark Chesnutt and outlaw rocker Hank Williams III

The real turning point in Jims career came in 2000, when he took the job as drummer and band leader for Rascal Flatts. Jim is currently on Rascal Flatts Me and My Gang tour, which is expected to play to well over a million people. Rascal Flatts has sold over 10 million records and is the most successful country group of the new millennium. In addition to his work with Rascal Flatts, Jim Riley keeps busy playing sessions in Nashville, where he and his wife, Jaime, reside.

Jims has been constantly recognized by his peers as being one of the best in the business. 2011-2014, Jim was voted Best Country Drummer by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine as well as winning Best Drum Clinician in 2009. The readers of DRUM! Agree voting Jim Country drummer of the year 2008-2010, 2012-2013.

In May of 2014 Jim was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer.

Jim attended University of North Texas where he received his degree in Music Education. In addition to being one of Nashvilles elite touring drummers, Jim has become internationally recognized as a clinician and educator. His 2011 Clinic for Modern Drummer Fest was filmed and released on DVD in November of 2011. His teaching studio The Drum Dojo, opened up in 2007 and is a place where Jim can teach the great drummers of tomorrow. He is also a published composer, and a frequent educational columnist for Modern Drummer Magazine. Jim has been a member of both the Pro panel and educational panel for MD. His first book, Song Charting Made Easy: a play along guide to the Nashville number system (Hal Leonard Publications) was released in June 2010 and is now in its second printing. His new book, Survival Guide for the Modern Drummer (Alfred Publishing) is set to be released in July of 2014 He is sponsored by Ludwig, Sabian, Remo, Gibraltar, Latin Percussion, Vater, LP Roland and Shure.