Willie Nile’s new release Children of Paradise (River House/Virtual Label) is the New York City based artist’s twelfth album, co-produced with Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Dar Williams). One glance at the cover along with the name and you’ll have a sense that this album is about the disenfranchised, about which one cannot help but to have a sense of awareness living in a major urban center. The album is backed by Nile’s band Matt Hogan (guitar), Jon Weber on drums and Johnny Pisano on bass, with Andy Burton (John Mayer) pitching in on keys and Steuart Smith (Rosanne Cash) completing the sound. With this lineup and the exuberant songwriting, this album will be a cause for celebration by his fans. And if you’re not yet a fan, you need to check this out immediately. (For more about Willie Nile, click one of these bolded words right here.)
“Seeds of a Revolution” has that familiar timeless quality that gives you pause to reflect, and wonder whether you’ve already known this song all along. “Children of Paradise” is a rerelease of a song Nile co-wrote with Martin Briley some years back, and was inspired by Marcel Carne’s 1943 film of the same name. These facts are not enough to clarify that the song is haunting buildup to wild rock and roll heights. “I Defy” has punk introductory elements, like any NYC influenced Americana song would have to: “I, I, I defy you…I never want to be in your society, you can try but you’ll never pin a name on me.” “Don’t let the f@#kers kill your buzz” is the infectious line from “Don’t.” The entire album is on the outer reaches of Americana music, way out where the rock n rollers reside, but if you define Americana as good songwriting with American influences like we do, then it clearly satisfies the bill.