MP3 Willie Nile - House Of A Thousand Guitars
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12 MP3 Songs in this album (52:33) !
Related styles: ROCK: Rock & Roll, ROCK: Album Rock
People who are interested in Bob Dylan Bruce Springsteen Jackson Browne should consider this download.
âWhat surprises me is how little has changed since the beginning. My passion hasnât diminished one bit. The fire is still blazing inside of me.â âWillie Nile
As powerful as it sounds, tenacity is only a word until you see and hear it personified in the person of gifted singer/songwriter Willie Nile. Nearly 30 years after his much-heralded debut and two years after his astonishing re-emergence on Streets of New York, Nile is ready to push his career into high gear with the release of House of a Thousand Guitars.
For some, stardom comes early â and is often over very quickly. For others, like Willie Nile, having a career in music has meant growing wise, not adhering to fads, and learning from the cards lifeâs dealt you. Itâs meant building, song by song, an integrity and artistry that attracts a zealous fan base and leads musical peers like Lucinda Williams to call Nile âa great artistâ and inspires U2âs Bono to sum up Streets of New York in one joyous burst: âGreat Album!â
That same short endorsement describes Nileâs new project, House of a Thousand Guitars. Recorded in the autumn of 2008, itâs a tour de force of the kind of rock troubadour craftsmanship that makes Nile such a refreshing, honest and rockinâ presence. House of a Thousand Guitars is the realization of all the promise that Nileâs earlier work had suggested and that had been predicted by many since his debut album years ago. From meaty all-out rockers like the title track and âDoomsday Danceâ to the chilling portrait of warâs aftermath in âNow That The War Is Overâ to the heartbreaking beauty of âHer Love Falls Like Rainâ and âTouch Me,â Willie Nile has likely made the best album of his career.
Nileâs musical odyssey began in Buffalo, New York, where he grew up one of eight children in an Irish Catholic family. After a graduating from the University of Buffalo, where he studied philosophy, Nile headed south to the best music scene on Earth in New York City. There he took his lumps, learned from the pros and by the mid-â70s had become an accomplished and rising young singer songwriter. His 1980 self-titled debut record, followed a year later by Golden Down (both on Arista) elicited praise from all quarters. To fans and music business cognoscenti alike, Nile was not only one in a long line of Greenwich Village musical sages, but a rocker with a passion that was sure to grow. His distinguished first album led to an invitation to open for The Who on their 1980 North American Tour.
Subsequent signings with Geffen Records (1982) and Columbia Records (1990) yielded only one record but it was a masterpiece: 1991âs jubilant, impeccably crafted Places I Have Never Been. Nile has just re-released this overlooked gem with additional, previously unreleased tracks.
In 1992, Willie became the flagship artist of upstart label Polaris Records. To coincide with the impending election he released the Hard Times in America EP; the title track remains a fan favorite and high point in Nileâs live shows to this day. Having been through the major label mill, he took some time off to regroup. The next several years he concentrated on writing and didnât put out a record, but Archive Alive released the now much-sought-after recording of a Central Park show, Willie Nile â Archive Alive (1997).
In 1999, Nile re-emerged with a new album, Beautiful Wreck of the World, and his own label, River House Records. Although River House didnât have the power of a major label behind it, it had one important thing going for it: the groundswell of support of critics and Nileâs peers. Bono called the record âa classicâ and Lucinda Williams said, ââOn the Road to Calvaryâ is âone of the most beautiful songs Iâve ever heard.â
As a new century dawned Nile played with Bruce Springsteen (at the Bossâs request) in his final shows at Shea Stadium. He also lent his distinctive vocals to an unusual recording project, Largo, a 1998 tribute to Antonin Dvorakâs From the New World that also featured Levon Helm, Carole King, Taj Mahal and Cyndi Lauper. At the same time Nile also began to gestate and create what in 2006 would become his triumphant re-emergence, the sparkling powerhouse that is Streets Of New York.
The response to the album and songs like the rousing fantasia opener, âWelcome to My Head,â the tender and honest title track and Nileâs paean to the victims of the Spanish train bombings, âCell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead,â was immediate and unrelentingly glowing: âA Platter for the Agesâ (Uncut), âHooked-filled and rockingâ (New York Post), âUnabashedly big in scope, sound and heart,â (Philadelphia Inquirer). To continue its momentum, a live DVD and CD, both titled Live From the Streets of New York were released, serving as a perfect bridge to the new album.
âWhen I think about this collection,â Nile says of House of a Thousand Guitars, âthe songs strike me as reflections of a traveler on a journey, things Iâve seen, heard and felt along the way. The musicians on the album played their hearts out and I think you can hear that in the recordings. Iâm lucky to be able to draw on such talented people to help bring the songs to life.â
House was recorded with two distinctly different groups of musicians. Half of the record, six songs, was recorded with Nileâs all-star, A-list band, the Worry Dolls: guitarist Andy York (John Mellencamp), bassist Brad Albetta (Teddy Thompson, Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright) and drummer Rich Pagano (Fab Faux, Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith). The Dolls are, like another New York band with Dolls in the title, a powerhouse unit, with guts and ambition and the need to rock. Their sleek, muscular playing â on tunes like the upbeat âRun,â the anthemic âLittle Lightâ and the driving, hard-edged, Stonesy, âDoomsday Danceâ â is the recordâs grit and backbone. âDoomsday,â in particular, is a classic, witty Nile socio-politico commentary, one that casts a wry eye on humanityâs sad penchant for self-destruction.
âIâll take your bony hand/youâre gonna shake your hips/Iâm gonna squeeze you tight/Kiss your apocalypse/Thereâll be a body count/Weâre gonna watch it rise/the folks at CNN/They wonât believe their eyes/Weâll do the dead manâs twist/This is our last chance/Down at the doomsday dance.â
The subject of war returns in âNow That the War Is Over,â an older song that Nile says âjust fitâ in this collection, albeit with one critical and timely word change: âVietnamâ was replaced by âPakistan.â Nile says, âThe horrors that occur during a war, any war, are unimaginable and unfathomable. I was focusing on the aftermath of these sad events when I wrote this song. The frequency and depth of manâs inhumanity to man is incomprehensible to me.â
House of a Thousand Guitars even has a connection to the recent election and this countryâs long overdue change of direction. The song âGive Me Tomorrowâ was written and recorded right before the election and though not inspired by the campaign, many who heard it suggested that Nile send it to Obamaâs people, which he eventually did.
âWith less than two weeks to go in the campaign, the Obama people heard it and loved it and were going to try to make use of it,â Nile says. The song is something right out of the Obama playbook with a driving backbeat and roaring guitars.
At the center of every Willie Nile record are the songs of the heart, with sweet melodies and lyrics about hope and love. The tune here closest to Nileâs heart is âTouch Me,â a song of remembrance and also a celebration of the life of his brother John, who passed away exactly a year before Nile laid down the basic tracks for the song with the albumâs other band, one consisting of longtime Nile friend and collaborator Frankie Lee, guitarist Steuart Smith (The Eagles, Rodney Crowell) and Stewart Lerman (Loudon Wainwright, Jules Shear, The Roches, co-producer of Places I Have Never Been).
Blending tragedy and comedy of the human condition with Nileâs usual crystalline lyrics and flush melodies, House of a Thousand Guitars has even managed to please its self-critical creator.
âBeauty can bring tears and wonder and music can do that as well. It can reach deep into places where words canât go. We were able to do that with this record. Recording it was a great experience, and I couldnât be happier with how it turned out.â
The album is perhaps best seen through the prism of the title track, a hook-driven song about an imaginary place where great musicians dwell and can make their music in peace. âYou can spread your fingers âcross the universe . . . in the House of a Thousand Guitars,â sings Nile, while naming House denizens Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, who, as the lyric says, is âgonna kick your ass.â Like the album itself, itâs a magical place to visit.
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