Willie Nile - Episode 660

Steve Cooper talks with singer/songwriter Willie Nile.  Willie became a popular fixture in the Village’s folk clubs in the late 70's, while drawing equal inspiration from the emerging downtown punk scene. He won a deal with Arista Records, which released his first two albums, Willie Nile and Golden Down, to considerable acclaim in 1980 and 1981 respectively. Despite a series of legal disputes that caused him to walk away from the music business for nearly a decade, he resumed his recording career successfully in the ’90s, recording Places I Have Never Been for Columbia Records, before going the D.I.Y. route with such well-received indie albums as Beautiful Wreck of the World, Streets of New York, House of a Thousand Guitars, The Innocent Ones, American Ride, World War Willie and the low-key piano-based departure If I Was a River. Throughout his career he’s amassed an enthusiastic international fan base that includes such admirers as Bruce Springsteen, with whom he’s guested onstage on several occasions, and Pete Townshend, who personally requested him as the opening act on the Who’s historic 1980 U.S. tour. The list of avowed his fans also includes Bono, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Jim Jarmusch, Adam Duritz, Little Steven and Lucinda Williams. He recently his eleventh studio album, Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan, a heartfelt, personally charged set of Dylan covers that honors its subject while exemplifying the same qualities that have distinguished his work since the beginning.

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