Run to Live, Live to Run

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dylan...Springsteen...Willie Nile...Who?

Dylanesque...the next Springsteen...who says these things? Those terms should have been banned from the English language long ago b/c it's not only unfair to those two legends, it's more unfair to be compared to them and have to live up to that media created status when you are just starting out. Willie Nile is one of those guys, that just never has gotten the respect or recognition of some of his contemporaries. When he broke onto the music scene in the early 80's, he got the inevitable kiss of death, being tagged those comparisons. His debut and three more albums sustained him over the course of over 20 years or so, but now after a six year absence, he returns with his finest yet. Streets of New York ( is not just a love letter to his lifelong surroundings, but to everyone and everything that makes the center of the world just that, from his unique and poetic point of view. His weary but exhilarant voice and poignant lyrics paint so many pictures of the place him and so many others have called home. You can tell he's been around the block a few times on tracks like "Back Home" and the title track, but he turns back his own clock to get rocking on "Game of Fools" and wear the heart of a young punk on his cover of the Clash's "Police on our Back". Willie and his fine new album go hand in hand with the unofficial capital of the world, much like the Boss to New Jersey, who invited Willie onstage with him & the E Street band at the Shea stadium shows to close their 2004 World Tour. Little Steven Van Zandt even says, "He's so good, I can't believe he's not from Jersey...", and we all know, what Silvio says, goes. Or else.

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