A Buffalo, New York native and long time West Village resident, Willie Nile has been one of the best kept secrets in Rock N’ Roll since the release of his self-titled album in 1980. Upon hearing the record, Pete Townsend was so impressed that he enlisted Willie to open for The Who on the second leg of their North American Tour in the summer of 1980. This release also prompted New York Times music critic Robert Palmer to call Willie "one of the most gifted singer-songwriters to emerge from the New York scene in years."
His list of accolades from a wide variety of music industry publications and musicians of note is long and impressive:
- Uncut Magazine calling him “A one-man Clash” and naming his 2006 album “Streets Of New York” as “a platter for the ages”.
- Rolling Stone listed “The Innocent Ones” as one of the “Top Ten Best Under-The-Radar Albums of 2011” and BBC Radio called it “THE rock ‘n’ roll album of the year.” The anthemic single, “One Guitar” from that album was the “Top Pick of the Week” in USA Today.
- 2013’s “American Ride” won “Best Rock Album of the Year” at the Independent Music Awards and was voted “Album Of The Year” at Twangville Magazine. Long time friend and admirer Bono called it, “One of the great guides to unraveling the mystery that is the troubled beauty of America.”
- “If I Was A River”, an album of piano based songs , was released in 2014 to great critical acclaim. The New Yorker named Willie Nile “One of the most brilliant singer-songwriters of the past thirty years” and Uncut called him “the unofficial poet laureate of New York City.”
- MOJO wrote of his 2016 album “World War Willie”, “Four Stars! The real thing…stomp-‘til you drop ready rock’n’roll…timeless fare.” It replicated 2013’s success again winning Album of the Year Reader’s Poll from Twangville.
- His 2017 record “Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan” was hailed as “one of the best Dylan tribute albums ever made.” Powerpop Magazine wrote: “Astoundingly great…must be heard to be believed. If this doesn’t get your blood flowing, seek medical help.”
- Willie’s last release, “Children of Paradise”, was selected as one of 2018’s top five albums by Sirius Radio’s Little Steven’s Underground Garage. The record’s first single “Seeds of a Revolution”, was chosen as one of the top twenty songs of the year. A powerful piece reminding us that the nation was built on the strength and diversity of its immigrants, “Seeds” was described by morning host Michael Desbarres as being as socially relevant to today’s fractious political climate as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 1970 classic “Ohio” was to the turbulent times of the Vietnam War era. Add “All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go” and “Earth Blues”, two full on rockers drawing attention the challenges associated with climate change to the mix, along with the lyrical genius of the soulful ballads “Have I Ever Told You” and “Lookin’ For Someone” (a tribute to his dear friend Andrew Dorff) and it is easy to see why the Associated Press praised it as Willie’s best effort to date.
- Better than most performers have to offer by far." -- Rolling Stone
- “Clash/Social Distortion meets Pete Seeger…a true master songwriter!” – Hits
- “Willie’s so good I can’t believe he’s not from New Jersey!” – Little Steven
- “Willie Nile is a great artist. If there was any justice in this world, I’d be opening up for him instead of him for me.” Lucinda Williams
- “He’s a rocker’s rocker, protégé of the famous.” -- USA Today
- “RIVETING!...Springsteen, Mellencamp, Van Morrison…Willie Nile has earned his standing in that esteemed company! – Blurt
- Willie and long time friend Bruce Springsteen have performed together many times, most recently when The Boss joined Nile and his band on stage on January, 17 2020 at legendary Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ for a powerhouse rendition of “One Guitar” https://youtu.be/5gjPBwuhLDQ