Music News Nashville

“Have you seen the sunshine laughin’ like a bad boy/Doin’ somethin’ that I never will?” This is just the kind of lively and descriptive lyric listeners will hear on “The Innocent Ones” – singer/songwriter Willie Nile’s latest on River House Records. Already available in Europe, where the thirty-year veteran of the New York music scene has a following, the collection of new original tunes will be released to the US market in November.

Known for his live-performance energy, shades-of-Dylan vocal delivery, melodic rock ‘n’ roll, and his healthy shock of hair, Nile hits home anthems for the common man, and charms the unsuspecting with off-beat love songs.

Ten of eleven tracks are co-written with collaborator Frankie Lee, who co-produced with Nile, along with Stewart Lerman, Steuart Smith and Hirsh Gardner. In his disarming, nasally tone mixed with what sounds like a bit of brogue (although I’ve read that he’s a life-long New Yorker), he sings about how one voice can make a  difference in this world on “One Guitar”: “I’m a soldier in an army/Got no gun to shoot/But what I got is one guitar.” He encourages us to stand up for the meek on the title track, and offers a happy, vintage Buddy Holly vibe on “My Little Girl.”

Nile is fond of sing-along choruses and catchy, power-pop/retro-rock melodies that are as joyous and positive as his hopeful lyrics. But as sunny as the weather is here, it’s only after some clouds and rain for a slice of real life, resulting in messages that are far from Pollyanna fluff.

Lovely piano accents surface on the acoustic ballad “Sideways Beautiful,” where the artist tells us about his girl’s sweet quirks and asks, “Who sings Christmas songs in summer/Under their breath so silently.” Backed by a jangly guitar on final track “Far Green Hills,” he professes his love: “If fire was her daughter/I would drink a pail of water. Just to kiss her…just to kiss her,” leaving listeners with his fresh, fun and angst-free take on things. Nile seems to have little interest in self-indulgent artistry on this record – he just wants to make the listeners feel good.

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