Willie Nile’s spectacular ‘If I Was a River’ shows there’s plenty of gas left in the tank

Willie Nile‘If I Was a River’
Willie Nile (River House)
4.5 stars out of 5

With last year’s release of terrific studio effort “American Ride,” Buffalo native Willie Nile showed us he still had plenty of gas left in the tank even after 35 years in the business. Over the course of a dozen or so albums, the 65-year-old Nile has established himself as a master of guitar-driven rock … so of course he’s reinventing himself to a certain extent on latest project “If I Was a River.”

Willie Nile CDThe spellbinding 10-track release features sparse arrangements with Nile accompanying himself on piano, rather than his usual guitar. The results are truly special.

“I’ve wanted to do an album of piano songs for some time,” Nile admits. “I’ve got drawers full of songs of all kinds, but these piano songs are close to my heart, and it felt like it was the right time to let them out. I Love the simplicity of just sitting at the piano and singing a song. Sometimes less is more, and this just seemed like one of those times.”

The deeply personal album gets off to a strong start with the title track and “Lost,” and Nile also soars on “Once in a Lullaby,” “Gloryland,” “I Can’t Do Crazy (Anymore),” “The One You Used to Love” and “Let Me Be the River.” I can’t recommend this one highly enough, folks. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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