Willie Nile American Ride on LP + Download
Anyone who’s paid attention to his recent output knows that Willie Nile is currently in the midst of a creative renaissance that’s produced some of the most compelling music of his 35-year career. The tradition continues with his Loud & Proud Records release, American Ride. “It’s pretty rockin’ over all, but there are some left turns and right turns along the way,” Nile says of the album, which was fan-funded through Pledgemusic.com. “There are songs about the rights of man, songs about freedom, songs about love and hate, songs about loss, songs about God and the absence of God, and songs about standing up for your fellow man. It’s upbeat and full of life. I’m thrilled with how it came out.”
American Ride offers a bracing set of 11 original compositions, and one well-chosen cover, that rank with the catchiest and most vivid music that Nile’s ever delivered. From the everyday wisdom of “Life on Bleecker Street” and “Sunrise in New York City” to the broader observations of “This Is Our Time” and “Holy War” to the rock ’n’ roll abandon of “Say Hey” and the road-tripping title track, the album consistently lives up to the artist’s reputation for writing songs that are as impassioned as they are infectious, and performing them with the fervor of a true believer. Several of American Ride’s recurring themes come into focus on the last two songs, “The Crossing” and “There’s No Place Like Home,” which end the album on a note of humanistic uplift. Another highlight is a fiery reading of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died,” recorded as a tribute to both Carroll, who passed away in 2009, and to Nile’s late brother John.
American Ride features backup from Nile’s live band - guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Alex Alexander, and Nile on guitar and piano - along with guest appearances by Eagles’ guitarist Steuart and New York singer-songwriters James Maddock and Leslie Mendelson. Nile also worked with some notable songwriting collaborators, including Eric Bazilian of The Hooters, who co-wrote “God Laughs”; The Alarm’s Mike Peters, who contributed to the title number; and Nile’s frequent writing partner Frankie Lee, who co-wrote four tracks. The producers were team of Grammy-winner Stewart Lerman and Nile himself, with additional production by Pisano and Alexander.
Having launched his recording career at the height of the major-label era, and never comfortable with the baggage that comes along with being a major-label commodity, Nile has in recent years embraced the autonomy and freedom of his current indie status. To bring American Ride to fruition, he decided to take his case directly to the fans, financing the album’s recording, manufacturing and promotion via the Pledgemusic.com. Fans enthusiastically rallied to the cause, and Willie far exceeded his financial goal. In the midst of these fan supported efforts, a few labels took note of Willie’s success and expressed interest in American Ride. The decision was made to partner with Loud & Proud, thereby combining strengths both sides could bring to marketing the release.
Willie Nile’s 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.” With 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.
“The impassioned voice, the sharp and soulful lyrics, the interesting shoes and large, Kramer-like hair which seems to grow thicker every year – Willie Nile brings it all into focus. Listen to this record.” - Graham Parker
Willie Nile American Ride Track Listing:
1. This Is Our Time
2. Life On Bleecker Street
3. American Ride
4. If I Ever See The Light
5. She Got My Heart
6. God Laughs
7. People Who Died
8. Holy War
9. Say Hey
10. Sunrise In New York City
11. The Crossing
12. There’s No Place Like Home