Children Of Paradise
River House Records 2018
Review by David Bowling
One of the kings of American rock and roll has returned with a new album. Willie Nile released seven albums during the first three decades of his career but now they are coming more quickly as this is his fifth release since 2013.
Lately he has issued an all piano album and one of Bob Dylan covers. Children Of Paradise is a return not only to his roots but to the roots of American rock as he has produced an album of all new compositions.
The album cover is representative of the contents. The faces are photographic images of people from his Greenwich Village neighborhood. While the portraits are of people rejected by society, the songs hook into and bring to life the dreams and realities of their lives. In many ways, the album is thematic in approach; all tied together by the album closing “All God’s Children.”
Songs such as “Seeds Of A Revolution,” “Gettin’ Ugly Out There,” “All Dressed Up An No Place To Go,” “I Defy,” and “Secret Weapon” have created a powerful album that runs from desolation to hope and all points in between.
The sound is basic and elemental rock as he is mostly supported by his live band, guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, and drummer Jon Weber plus a few guest musicians. It adds up to infectious and thoughtful music that is appropriate for a party or late at night.
Niles has been a force in American rock and roll since he opened for the Who’s 1980 American tour. Children Of Paradise cements his status as a premier songwriter and musician. It is also one of the better albums of his career, which is very high praise.