Willie Nile Band
Willie Nile and his band hail from New Jersey in the USA. His fans include Bruce Springsteen, with whom he’s guested onstage on multiple occasions, and Pete Townshend, who personally requested him as the opening act on the Who’s 1982 U.S. tour. Other avowed Nile admirers include Bono, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Jim Jarmusch, Adam Duritz, Little Steven and Lucinda Williams, who once remarked: “Willie Nile is a great artist. If there was any justice in this world, I’d be opening up for him instead of him for me.”
Born into a large Irish Catholic family in Buffalo, N.Y., Willie began writing songs in his early teens. After graduating from the University at Buffalo with a B.A. in philosophy, he moved to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. During his first winter there, he was sidelined by pneumonia. While spending nearly a year recuperating, he concentrated on honing his songwriting skills. After his recovery, Nile became a popular fixture in the Village’s folk clubs, while drawing inspiration from the emerging downtown punk scene. His budding career received a major boost from a high-profile New York Times piece by legendary critic Robert Palmer. The local buzz stoked by that story led to a deal with Arista Records, for which Nile recorded Willie Nile and Golden Down, released in 1980 and 1981, respectively. Those albums won a sizable audience and generated reams of press raves. But his progress ground to a halt after legal disputes with his label caused him to walk away from the music business, beginning a recording hiatus that lasted for nearly a decade.
Although he continued to write new material, Nile maintained a discreet distance from the spotlight until 1991, when he reemerged with a new deal with Columbia Records and a new album, Places I Have Never Been, which restored the artist to prominence with fans and critics. The following year, he went the independent route with the four-song EP Hard Times in America. Willie Nile — Archive Alive, documenting a 1980 performance in New York’s Central Park, was released in 1997. In 1998, Nile lent his unmistakable voice to the all-star concept album Largo.
In 1999, Nile’s Beautiful Wreck of the World marked the start of an exciting new chapter in his career, one in which he’s wholeheartedly embraced his new indie status to create and distribute his music free from corporate agendas. His new approach yielded substantial results, with the effort chosen as one of the year’s Top Ten Albums by critics at Billboard, The Village Voice and Stereo Review. During this period, Nile substantially stepped up his touring activities in Europe, where he’s since built a large and enthusiastic following.
The well-received Streets of New York, from 2006, ushered in the most productive and prolific period of Nile’s musical life. The CD Live From the Turning Point and the DVD Live From the Streets of New York followed in 2007 and 2008, respectively, as did another widely celebrated new studio album, House of a Thousand Guitars, and 2011’s The Innocent Ones, which won some of the most enthusiastic notices Nile’s ever received: The BBC called it “stunning . . . THE rock ’n’ roll album of the year,” and Rolling Stone included it in its “Top Ten Best Under-the-Radar Albums of 2011.” USA Today named the album’s anthemic lead track “One Guitar” as the number-one song in the nation.
With a new CD, American Ride now a reality thanks to his — and his fans’ — efforts, Willie Nile is moving with the unmistakable momentum of a deeply accomplished artist who’s just hitting his stride.
7:00pm- Doors open
7:45pm- Jefferson Grizzard
8:30pm- Willie Nile Band