Willie Nile | House Of A Thousand Guitars

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House Of A Thousand Guitars

by Willie Nile

Willie Nile's puts life into song like few in the world can-Marky Ramone
Genre: Rock: Rock & Roll
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. House Of A Thousand Guitars
4:04 album only
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2. Run
4:24 album only
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3. Doomsday Dance
4:14 album only
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4. Love Is A Train
5:28 album only
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5. Her Love Falls Like Rain
3:03 album only
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6. Now That The War Is Over
4:35 album only
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7. Give Me Tomorrow
4:46 album only
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8. Magdalena
3:48 album only
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9. Little Light
4:59 album only
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10. Touch Me
4:48 album only
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11. The Midnight Rose
4:19 album only
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12. When The Last Light Goes Out On Broadway
4:05 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“What surprises me is how little has changed since the beginning. My passion hasn’t diminished one bit. The fire is still blazing inside of me.” —Willie 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 — 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 life’s dealt you. It’s 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 “a great artist” and inspires U2’s Bono to sum up Streets of New York in one joyous burst: “Great Album!”

That same short endorsement describes Nile’s new project, House of a Thousand Guitars. Recorded in the autumn of 2008, it’s a tour de force of the kind of rock troubadour craftsmanship that makes Nile such a refreshing, honest and rockin’ presence. House of a Thousand Guitars is the realization of all the promise that Nile’s 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 “Doomsday Dance” to the chilling portrait of war’s aftermath in “Now That The War Is Over” to the heartbreaking beauty of “Her Love Falls Like Rain” and “Touch Me,” Willie Nile has likely made the best album of his career.

Nile’s 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-‘70s 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: 1991’s 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 Nile’s 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 didn’t put out a record, but Archive Alive released the now much-sought-after recording of a Central Park show, Willie Nile — 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 didn’t have the power of a major label behind it, it had one important thing going for it: the groundswell of support of critics and Nile’s peers. Bono called the record “a classic” and Lucinda Williams said, “’On the Road to Calvary’ is “one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.”

As a new century dawned Nile played with Bruce Springsteen (at the Boss’s 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 Dvorak’s 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, “Welcome to My Head,” the tender and honest title track and Nile’s paean to the victims of the Spanish train bombings, “Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead,” was immediate and unrelentingly glowing: “A Platter for the Ages” (Uncut), “Hooked-filled and rocking” (New York Post), “Unabashedly big in scope, sound and heart,” (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.

“When I think about this collection,” Nile says of House of a Thousand Guitars, “the songs strike me as reflections of a traveler on a journey, things I’ve 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. I’m lucky to be able to draw on such talented people to help bring the songs to life.”

House was recorded with two distinctly different groups of musicians. Half of the record, six songs, was recorded with Nile’s 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 — on tunes like the upbeat “Run,” the anthemic “Little Light” and the driving, hard-edged, Stonesy, “Doomsday Dance” — is the record’s grit and backbone. “Doomsday,” in particular, is a classic, witty Nile socio-politico commentary, one that casts a wry eye on humanity’s sad penchant for self-destruction.

“I’ll take your bony hand/you’re gonna shake your hips/I’m gonna squeeze you tight/Kiss your apocalypse/There’ll be a body count/We’re gonna watch it rise/the folks at CNN/They won’t believe their eyes/We’ll do the dead man’s twist/This is our last chance/Down at the doomsday dance.”

The subject of war returns in “Now That the War Is Over,” an older song that Nile says “just fit” in this collection, albeit with one critical and timely word change: “Vietnam” was replaced by “Pakistan.” Nile says, “The 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 man’s inhumanity to man is incomprehensible to me.”

House of a Thousand Guitars even has a connection to the recent election and this country’s long overdue change of direction. The song “Give Me Tomorrow” 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 Obama’s people, which he eventually did.

“With 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,” 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 Nile’s heart is “Touch Me,” 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 album’s 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 Nile’s usual crystalline lyrics and flush melodies, House of a Thousand Guitars has even managed to please its self-critical creator.

“Beauty can bring tears and wonder and music can do that as well. It can reach deep into places where words can’t go. We were able to do that with this record. Recording it was a great experience, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”

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. “You can spread your fingers ‘cross the universe . . . in the House of a Thousand Guitars,” 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 “gonna kick your ass.” Like the album itself, it’s a magical place to visit.

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Reviews


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Timothy Forman

house of a Thousand guitars
Great record!!! The best I have heard in a while. It is good to know that a true rocker is out there still making great music!!!! I want to see him live soon... Tim
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Dennis

Willie touches us all on this one
I have been listening to Willie Nile music since his award winning debut album all those years ago. "House of a Thousand Guitars" is every bit as good as anything he has previously released. This album has an equal portion of Willie's classic jingle jangle guitar rock and his sensitive and meaningful piano ballads. Listen carefully to “When The Last Light Goes Out On Broadway”. Willie is not singing about Broadway in New York City here. If he were he would have put this song on “Streets of New York. He is singing about life itself. Substitute the phrase “this life” for “this dirty town” It blew me away!! “Her Love Falls Like Rain” is reminiscent of those classic Beatle tunes brought into the 21st century. The guitars on “Magdalena” are incredible. Listen to them talking at 2:54 you can hear them saying “Isn’t that weird?” “Magdalena” and “Run” each are full of Nile’s infinite energy. There is a song for every mood is on this album. Each time I listen to it I enjoy it more than the last. This album will be around for many years to come. Get a first edition now; it will be a collector’s prize.
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robert m. james lll

Lennon would be proud
this is amazing! it gives me hope that real songs and bands still exist... actually they RULE!!! Thanx willie for staying true!
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Bill Curtis

Another Fine Effort!
Picks right up where "Streets of New York" leaves off. Willie is writing some of the best material of his career! One of the top discs of the year. Radio be damned:this work deserves to be heard!
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Jörgen Edmark

Another Complete album
This was another great album from one of my favorite artists over the world.I hope you will
give out a new record once a year.I need it.
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Michael Kahabka

Willie Nile House of a Thousand Guitars
The only thing better than the Cd is to see Willie Live. Have seen him live numerous times in Buffalo and he is a true credit to our city. A truly remarkable entertainer who only gets better with age
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