The 2009 Texas Music Awards Rising Star recipient releases his first post-award CD, and all eyes are on Cody Riley. Post-accolade releases are almost always career-changing, and mostly based on what fans think in comparison to the pre-accolade offerings. With Riley, the 2007 EP was discarded in favor of his true debut offering EVERYTHING IN COLOR. This release was good enough to earn him the Rising Star honors and the sophomore offering is now Riley’s ballast for the next stage of his career. If his award-winning release was a homerun, his newest is the equivalent of hitting for the cycle. Riley has another hit on his hands with this dozen-cut treasure. From the opening stick clicks, this album is Texas music at its best. Riley’s musical maturity is amazing, considering he’s still in his teens, but with award-winning producer, Rodney Pyeatt at the helm, the excellence becomes a little less surprising. Cody Riley’s writing is as good as it comes today, holding steady with such writers as Wade Bowen and Cody Canada. The title cut is the sequel to “Lone Star State Of Mind.” (EVERYTHING IN COLOR, 2008) In both cuts, Riley chronicles life in small town Texas while grasping every opportunity to experience youthful life, and in the recent cut, adding the complication of being a musician in that environment. Riley employs a pair of ‘Milos’ for this disc, using Milo Deering and Milo Phillips to expertly augment the outstanding arrangements. Perhaps one of the most commercial cuts, and one that shows Riley’s maturation as a writer, is “Valentine” which sadly laments the loneliness of unrequited love. The album’s orchestration is superb and the production is typical of Pyeatt, using his vast skills to accurately capture the true talent of the performers. Riley’s anthem is a suite-styled tune called “Addiction” which, in the second movement, declares “as far as bridges go, you’ve gotta know which ones to cross and which ones to burn.” Riley offers an acoustic reprisal of “White Zinfandel Wine” as the last track, a fitting wrap to this fabulous disc. Peppered with diversity, Riley has broadened his horizons musically and gives no foothold to any nay-sayers who believe in post-award jinx. Riley has stepped up, giving fans something even better, even more exciting. As a sophomore, Riley will be thrust into the mix with the mainstream when it comes award season. It is quite possible, with this release, that Riley could be the first Rising Star to ever receive a subsequent release nomination. Time will tell.