New York singer-songwriter Willie Nile, who recently turned 75, will be playing a career retrospective show with his band at DC’s The Hamilton Live on Saturday, Jan. 27. At 75, Nile is still going strong, still writing new songs and making new music.
An icon of DIY culture, Nile has been making music on his own terms for more than three decades, since he broke away from the major label system in the early 1980s. One of eight children raised in Buffalo, New York, Nile comes from a musical family — his uncles were musicians — and he was classically trained on the piano. While his repertoire includes piano-driven ballads, most of Nile’s music, which is as influenced as much by Joe Strummer — Uncut Magazine called him “a one-man Clash” — as it is by Bob Dylan, rocks much harder.
A critical favorite, the New York Times called Nile “one of the most gifted singer-songwriters to emerge from the New York scene in years.” The New Yorker says he’s “one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters of the past thirty years.” Steven Van Zandt declares, “Willie’s so good I can’t believe he’s not from New Jersey!”
Watch the official music video for “New York Is Rockin'” by Willie Nile on YouTube:
The city of New York, where he has lived for five decades, is Nile’s principal muse. That much is obvious from the titles of albums like The Streets of New York and New York at Night. Willie’s songs, which have earned the admiration of fellow musicians like Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, and Pete Townshend, convey the vibrant, colorful life of the city and the people who live there, past and present. His song, “The Crossing,” a tale of Irish immigrants coming to America, appeared in the film Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese, whose movies have been lauded for their creative and tasteful use of rock music.
With decades of great songs to choose from, this is a sure to be a night filled end-to-end with nothing but absolute bangers. If you’re already of fan of Willie, this is a show you can’t miss, and, if you’re new to his work, this is the ideal show to so what he’s got to offer.
The Hamilton Live
Saturday, Jan. 27
Doors @ 6:30pm