Willie Nile - 'American Ride' (River House Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 03:20

american-ride-wille-nileI first became aware of Willie Nile and his contribution to American rock and roll music via a great anthemic cover by The Alarm of his outstanding track 'One Guitar' - fast forward a number of years and 'American Ride' drives by to pick me up for a first listen to a full length platter from the East Coaster that matters.

 

For the opener we're into Americana Springsteen territory for sure. 'This Is Our Time' is bright and breezy and grooves along effortlessly with a classic beat and some happy-go-lucky lyrics to a simple yet effective chorus.

 

'Life On Bleecker Street' pretty much follows on with a good melody as Willie lays the lyrics out there about life on the street with some cool BVs and a great arrangement. The title track is a great tune led by a big jumbo acoustic strumming uncomplicated chords as the song goes coast to coast on an 'American Ride' and to close your eyes is like opening your imagination to a great big skyline as you drift away with this song playing on the car stereo; excellent stuff, simple but supremely delivered.

 

It's easy to see how this style of Americana is so popular at the minute, barely a heart beat away from what Gaslight Anthem do and, of course, there is some of the Boss in here as well as Jesse Malin's solo output.

 

The tempo is laid back for the acoustic love song that is 'She's Got My Heart' - not the greatest love song ever written but it is what it is and the arrangement and delivery are spot on, as is the playing, though it sadly does nothing for me.

 

'God Laughs' is back on track with a crisp electric guitar before the rhythm section joins in on another uptempo good-time tune.

 

'People Who Died' is pure Rock 'n' Roll and of course a more conservative take on the Jim Carroll classic with some great guitar playing on one of the best songs so far - a great pick for a cover. 'Sunrise In New York City' is a sidestep to the left with a happy-go-lucky piano jig of a song that is bursting with pride about Willie's city. More than any other city in the world Noo Yorkers wear their pride on their sleeve and will sing about it at the drop of a hat.

 

In the final straight 'The Crossing' has a touch of modern Bob Dylan about it as the grand sweeping piano chords dominate the song with the merest hint of lush strings in the background, something Tom Waits might be tempted by I'm sure.

 

Which only leaves 'There's No Place Like Home' to finish off; as the brushes sweep the snare drum this is a fine piece of Americana that fills a gap between The Boss and John Cougar Mellencamp and was a very pleasant experience... now to finally wander into the back catalogue, but where to start? I guess there is no time like the present to begin my Willie Nile journey and 'American Ride' has been a mighty fine introduction.  

 

For fans of Americana and Rock 'N' Roll. If you've not been introduced before this is a great place to start. Come with me for a ride! Anyone?

 

https://www.facebook.com/willienilemusic

 

To pick up your copy of 'American Ride' - CLICK HERE