Death, taxes and Willie Nile. You can count on all three of them. I suspect you already know about the first two. But I bet you’re probably still not up on Willie, even though he’s been cranking out solid rock ’n’ roll records for 40 damn years now. That’s OK; now’s as good a time as any to introduce yourself to the man and his music. His umpteenth album New York At Night is pretty much like all its predecessors: A no-frills set of old-school bar-room anthems about love and life, loss and loneliness — and yeah, his beloved adopted home town of N.Y.C. — all voiced in his rugged, ragged rasp. It ain’t gonna set the world on fire or bring him the fame and fortune he coulda, shoulda and maybe even woulda had decades ago if he hadn’t been repeatedly sidelined and sidetracked by the usual music-biz woes. But it’ll hit the spot now and then and remind you that there are still some guys out there who stay true to themselves — all the way down the line. That’s something else you can probably always count on from Nile.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York at Night is the 13th studio album from veteran rock ‘n’ roll troubadour Willie Nile, and the strongest manifestation to date of his deep affinity for the city. The album’s 12 new originals exemplify the artist’s trademark mix of romance, idealism, humor, emotional urgency and a true believer’s passionate embrace of all things rock ‘n’ roll. Nile’s abiding passion for his town animates such tunes as New York Is Rockin’ and the album’s title track. “New York City has always inspired me,” states Willie. “I’ve lived in Greenwich Village for many years now, and I still love being there. The energy, the grit, and the mystery of it all fills my heart with wonder. Most of these songs were written in New York or were inspired by it in one way or another.” Nile recorded New York at Night just across the river, at Weehawken, N.J.’s Hobo Sound, co-producing with longtime collaborator Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Patti Smith) and backed by his longtime live band — along with renowned guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell), pianist Brian Mitchell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, B.B. King), and an assortment of backing vocalists including singer-songwriters Frankie Lee and James Maddock, and veteran singers Tawatha Agee and Vaneese Thomas.”