Who is SHELLY RIFF?? Growing up in Passaic, NJ, Shelly Riff started playing music at the age of 8 and hasn't stopped since. This proved to be a good training ground for all kinds of musical influences. He was originally a trumpet player but when he discovered the piano at the age of 16 everything changed. 'When my mom passed away, I discovered the piano and started using it to help me get through my grief. It changed my life. I started playing and couldn't stop.' Soon Shelly was in college studying piano and began writing songs about what he was going through. Through this deep introspection, what eventually became 'The Innocence', his debut CD, began to emerge. Recorded at the renowned Acme Studios in upstate New York, 'The Innocence' features 10 original songs that possess the lyrical poetry of Sting combined with the pop sensibility of Crowded House and the raw energy of Incubus. The opening track, 'Wash Away' combines a sweet melody with a driving beat, and deals with coming to terms with the pain and challenges of life. The first single from the album, 'Shine On Sweet Angel', is an energetic up-tempo rocker with a stick-in--your-head hook. The title track, 'The Innocence', is a heartfelt piano based song describing the emergence of love. In fact one person found it incredibly moving. 'One day I get this call from a girl in California. She tells me she has some friends in from New Jersey for her bridal shower that heard the album and played it for her. She told me how 'The Innocence' is everything she has always wanted to say to her fiancé. She asked me if to would be OK for her to use it as she walks down the aisle. I was floored'. Through the years, Shelly made his way into the New York music scene where he hosted a Songwriting Showcase at the hip meatpacking district club The Gaslight for 3 years. 'I used to meet everyone there... from James Gandolfini to Nicole Kidman. It was a great hang. Every Tuesday night you never knew what to expect. The prerequisite for me was to be totally inspired by really great local music.' It was during one of these 'hangs' that Shelly met Eric Rackin who wrote the hit song 'Show Me Heaven', featured in the movie 'Top Gun'. 'Eric would always come in and talk about this Garage Band he played with, Richard and The Young Lions. I never thought too much about it until one day he came in and said their keyboard player split and asked me to come by and check it out. I said sure, why not.' Richard and The Young Lions just happened to be Little Steven Van Zandt's pet project as he was just launching his Little Steven's Underground Radio Show on Q104.3 in NYC. Shelly was asked to join the band and immediately began writing tunes with Eric, Richard, Twig and the boys. This collaboration proved so successful that the band's forthcoming CD features songs they wrote together. Richard and The Young Lions just recently played Little Steven's GARAGE-A-PALOOZA on Randalls Island in NY. 'What an incredible day. There where upwards of 16,000 people there and to hear that ovation when we were done was just incredible. We were hanging in our trailer after our set and Jim Kerr from Q104.3 knocks on the door and gave us a GREAT compliment. He says I've been waiting my whole life to hear what I just heard coming from the stage. I was completely blown away.' Shelly is currently writing the follow up to 'The Innocence'. The new full-length album features brand new songs and more raw energy then ever before. 'Kocham Cie', an infectious song conjuring up The Foo Fighters, has everyone asking what Kocham Cie means. This is definitely answered in the songs beautiful lyric and great hook. 'Mercury Retrograde', is a fast rocking song that invokes Green Day with a touch of Rolling Stones-type swagger. 'God Is The Doctor' evokes the emotional depth of 'The Innocence', but touches on the current state of affairs in the world, a subject Shelly explores more fully on the new CD. 'This new stuff is more confessional and emotionally charged'. Much like many other New Yorkers and New Jerseyians, Shelly touches on the events of 9/11 and the current presidency, with introspection, class, and his usual rock and roll attitude. Look for Shelly's new album early next year.