My Music Story

Riley Hodges

Music Artist

Riley Hodges is a creative soul from Long Beach, CA who has released a solo album titled, “Life on Mars.” He is also the lead singer and songwriter for The Cosmic Cowboys. Listeners describe his music as catchy, upbeat, thoughtful and fun.

“Life on Mars” is an eclectic-rock album that was inspired by a journey through Iceland. The song "Live One” details this experience asking, "What's it like to be a stone shot into magma bursting out?" The album begins with “Street Walker” as an alternative rock song with a distinct LBC backbeat and beachy horn section, then navigates to a latin groove and psychedelic sounds of “C’est La Vie,” and finally a more traditional folk rock sound with the tune, “Coming Home.” The B-side kicks off with “Live One” and continues it’s journey to more Rock and Americana sounds, culminating with, “High Low” that is inspired from Michelle Obama’s famous quote.

These ideas behind “Life on Mars” are rooted in dreaming of a better world filled with Love and Empathy, and asks the question, “If we went to Mars, what would we want to do differently?”

Riley grew up in his family's bar business and credits his parents for introducing him to good music. While growing up, Riley's mom shared with him The Beatles and an eclectic mix of 90s music. While taking piano lessons with his siblings, Riley learned classical pieces along with contemporary pop music. Riley's mom shared her large music collection for him to explore during car rides to school. After studying piano from a young age, Riley eventually  found interest in percussion and drumming, then as a teenager picked up a guitar and learned to sing.

More recently, Riley Hodges has shared a rock song called, “Shoot the Root” in June 2023 as a solo release, and just before that in May 2023 “Bottle of Jack” was released by his band, The Cosmic Cowboys.

“I wrote this song, ‘Shoot the Root,’ as an ode to our family bar business, Shannon's Bayshore in Long Beach, CA. The song name refers to our famous drink called a Shoot the Root! The band is made up of players from the bar scene, including regulars who have frequented the bar.”

Established in 1995, Shannon's Bayshore is a Long Beach staple of the bar scene that Riley’s parents have revitalized though have kept the dive bar feel. Riley has helped operate this business with his family after turning 21. Riley also operates Shannon’s Corner that his father opened in 2006 in Downtown Long Beach, which includes a restaurant, nightclub, tiki speakeasy, sports pub, and large events space.

Riley says, “I grew up in the bar business from a young age, and the lyrics of ‘Shoot the Root’ reflect a playful mood of a proprietor's perspective, like, ‘We've got the best looking kind of smiles at the bar. Name me your pleasure, we'll drink to your scars and go la, da da. Let's all Shoot the Root!’

Before these more recent releases, Riley formed a band called “Taste of Red” with a local music school owner named John Capito and local friend Tim Bullock. The description in mind was, “If David Gilmour went to Spain with Paul McCartney and formed a band.” Though a rough approximation of what might happen, Taste of Red truly delivers on the rock, psych, latin grooves, containing piercing guitar solos, ethereal vocals and use of congas and other percussive elements. Expect some releases from Taste of Red later this year, including “Whiskey In Time.” Riley says, “We made all this music back in 2012-2014, but never put it out on streaming because it wasn’t as big a thing back then when CD’s were still barely being used.”

Riley reflects further on the elements of his songwriting that contain references to alcohol, “It is noteworthy that a good handful of songs I have recorded, including releases of different band names, have referred to a type of alcoholic drink. I think that makes sense given my upbringing in a family, and father as an entrepreneur who ran restaurants and bars, among other professions. Yet I tend to go deeper, like with my past solo album release, "Life on Mars," as I'm maintaining my creative approach while looking to find an audience who appreciates the many sentiments I seek, and sing about. I’m currently focused on some of those deeper elements, but I think for the time being my focus is actually more nuanced so that I can stay above the fray and stand out, but still appeal with good sounding songs to the tastes of the current pallet of listeners, always pushing though to what’s over the horizon.”

"Thanks for reading a snippet of my story, and note that it’s best served with a main dish of music that I’ve released. These songs are meant to celebrate life, community, and shared memories of a positive social experience. I hope you enjoy!"

- Riley Hodges

Expect more song releases soon, including a full length album by The Cosmic Cowboys.