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CD Review Dirty Impound - "The Innocent Ones"

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Since his self-titled debut album in 1980 (one of the standouts of that decade), Willie Nile has lived close to the street, knocking out tales of survivors and failures, rough bitten romantics and dinged up rebels. While his career has been a topsy-turvy series of road bumps and missed opportunities, the work itself – that chugging, folk-inflected, very NYC stuff – has been pretty much dynamite. So, it comes as little surprise that Nile’s seventh studio album, The Innocent Ones (released October 24), is a master class in well-rooted rock. Heartbreak looking one in the eye, Nile and primary songwriting foil Frankie Lee offer us their insightful eyes, a gift that sees the crooked beauty in all the shuffling wrecks walking the sidewalks. Hope and resilience rise all over the album, balanced by Nile’s blacker observations on keepers like Topless Amateur and Rich And Broken. Underneath it all lays a belief in love paired with a pragmatic understanding of what sometimes needs to be done to get through the day. One Guitar works as a career-spanning manifesto for Nile, where he sings, “I’ve only got six strings but like a bell they ring/ It’s like a jet plane, insane crashin’ in my brain.” The man’s passion and conviction has been evident from the start, but what impresses is how he’s maintained them through more than 30 years of travails and is still producing music of this caliber. (Dennis Cook)

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