BLOGCRITICS – Best of 2013 Pick

By miles and miles, my top choice for 2013 is Willie Nile’s infectious and exuberant American Ride. Following on the heels of 2011′s equally infectious and exuberant The Innocent Ones, Nile’s newest collection is brimming with gems that are even better than his earlier work….American Ride is what rock should be. In fact, since it’s on my mind, I think I’ll play it again right now.

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“You know, this album surprises even me. I have a pretty good sense of what I got when I’m going in. It’s not just a random thing. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to make for a nice collection, what will work together, what’s interesting, what’s poignant, what’s fun, and I’m just delighted.”

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Elmore Magazine Quote

“American Ride is a perfect musical drive down the highway of American life and one you’ll be taking over and over again, getting limitless miles to your rock ‘n’ roll gallon.”

The Sacramento Bee Review of "American Ride"

With "American Ride," Willie Nile joins their ranks and proves he can do it just as well as the best of them, sometimes better - Springsteen included.

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Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/25/5523298/sound-affects-music-reviews-and.html#storylink=cpy

Blurt Review of "American Ride"

With American Ride, Willie Nile ascends to the uppermost tier of the most revered American musicians and esteemed populist pundits, an elite and exclusive circle of venerable troubadours whose numbers include Springsteen, Dylan, Fogerty, Petty and Mellencamp.

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Willie Nile Takes Rock On an "American Ride"

See that bright light? That's Willie Nile's star rising. And it's about time!

Silly that it has taken him several decades to begin to reap the kind of praise that his music has deserved for the 35 years of his career. The Who realized his brilliance. So does Bruce Springsteen. And Bono. And did we mention Lucinda Williams? Yep, artists and the news media have been on the Nile bandwagon for years. And at long last, an array of music lovers are starting to hear what they've been missing all these years.

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Reviews of Wille Nile’s American Ride

Please click on each review to read the articles

Concrete Planet

River House Review

Relix Review

Sunday Times Review

Americana Music News

3rd Coast Review

Wille Nile’s ‘American Ride’ leads to Buffalo

Willie Nile – a New Yorker for decades, but a Buffalonian at heart – has been riding a later-career renaissance since the 2004 release of “Beautiful Wreck of the World.” That album kicked off a renewed interest in the poetic rock troubadour, earning him plaudits from peers, critics and listeners alike. Nile has been on a roll ever since, releasing the strongest albums of his lengthy career, all of them peppered with lyrical insights and bolstered by indelible hooks in the form of “Streets of New York” (2006), “House of A Thousand Guitars” (2009) and “The Innocent Ones” (2010).

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Twangville.com Review

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Great days for Willie Nile

These days, rocking New York City singer/songwriter Willie Nile is feeling pretty good.

“If it’s not fun, if you’re not having a blast, if it’s not meaningful on different levels, why bother?” Nile said. “For me, these days, I’ve never felt more passionate about the music, I’ve never felt better about the work I’m putting out or the shows I’m doing.”

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Review of Guitartown

Publicist Cary Baker's free shindig annually enlivens the day parties with a mix of vets and up-and-comers. Roaring through classics and tunes from the upcoming American Ride, Willie Nile served a potent reminder of the chills induced by a true believer.

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Willie Nile's American Ride moves into high gear

NEW YORK, N.Y. — When Willie Nile recently sought help in underwriting his new album American Ride — out on April 30, 2013 on his own River House Records — with a fundraising campaign on pledgemusic.com, his fans turned out in huge numbers, reaching his goal amount in a mere four days and ultimately exceeding it.
Anyone who’s familiar with the New York-bred singer-songwriter’s large and impressive body of work will have no trouble understanding why he commands such devotion and loyalty from his fan base. And anyone who’s paid attention to his recent output knows that Nile is currently in the midst of a creative renaissance that’s produced some of the most compelling music he’s ever made.

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The Revolution will be Amplified!

Right before the band behind Willie Nile takes off like a shot, the chimes of freedom count a four beat to bring in "Singin Bell".  Willie Niles grabs a message and twists, turns, pushes and pulls the words and music in songs and slogans for modern day revolution.

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Buffalo's King of Rock 'n' Roll

Among the makings of great rock ’n’ roll is a sense of urgency.

Willie Nile embodies every sense of rock ’n’ roll urgency— from arms-outreached anthems to stiff upper-lipped riffs that scream, Nothing in the world matters more than this moment.

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One Guitar Gampaign

Singer/songwriter Willie Nile is putting together a new campaign that is twisting the concept of the charity single into many different pieces.

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The Innocent Ones - Quotes

Please click here to read some great quotes about Willie's album "The Innocent Ones"

Five Firsts with Willie Nile!

THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Meet The Beatles.” I saw them on Ed Sullivan’s show, and it changed my life. They were having such a great time, and the music was incredible. I’d heard about them before the show from friends at school. There was talk that they were a sensation in the UK. After seeing and hearing them, indeed they were.

I’d blast the music from my small, white, plastic record player. It made me smile. Up to that point, I was only buying singles – or 45′s as they were called. The first single I ever bought was “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly. Great record. Last year, I played a show in Austin, TX and Buddy’s wife Maria came to see me play. A mutual friend brought her and told her she “had to see this guy.” During my performance, he told me she leaned over to him and said, “He’s just like Buddy. He’s got the same energy as Buddy.” Needless to say I was deeply humbled. She bought two CDs and wanted me to sign them. I couldn’t believe it and told her that the first record I ever bought was “Peggy Sue.” She laughed, and we hugged, and it’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live. The photo from that day is at my website.

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2012 Light of Day Concert Series "New Jersey"

ASBURY PARK, NJ - Willie Nile and Bruce Springsteen perform during the 2012 Light of Day Concert Series at the Paramount Theatre on January 14, 2012 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

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The Hottest Live Photos of 2012

Bruce Springsteen, Garland Jeffreys and Willie Nile perform during the 2012 Light of Day Concert Series at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey on January 14th, 2012.

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New York Music Daily

“How’re the levels? How’s my guitar? Is it wallpaper folk music, or let’s-blow-up-this-building?” Willie Nile asked the crowd at J&R’s downtown Friday. On one level, it was weird seeing Willie Nile play in broad daylight. On the other hand, Nile is the rare rock musician who plays well before sunset: his recently reissued Live in Central Park album is legendary. It’s been thirty years since Nile debuted on Columbia Records as the latest in a long line of New Dylans, at least fifteen since his last misadventure with a major label; not surprisingly, his independence is what gained him a worldwide following (he’s off on European tour again next week after a VH1 live appearance Monday morning). This time out it was just a trio, Nile playing acoustic (but still wanting to blow up the building with it) plus Alex Alexander on drums and Johnny Pisano on bass.

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Dirty Impound - OMG! Interview

Willie Nile was made for music. One can tell that songs keep him up at night, itching to be brought to fruition and plucked on his guitar and carried on his ever-yearning, gruffly potent voice to any ears willing to listen. Nile’s music – right from his stunning self-titled 1980 debut on through his latest humanizing salvo, The Innocent Ones (released on October 24, 2011 on his own River House Records) (DI review) – is packed with streetwise hymns and rocked up folk anthems, a child of Buddy Holly, Woody Guthrie, The Ramones and The Clash, and kindred spirit to chums like Bruce Springsteen and Alejandro Escovedo. Grit and everyday gravitas infuse Nile’s tunes, and he’s been on a pretty amazing tear in the 2000s after decades of topsy-turvy industry woes. What has sustained him – and infused his work with a close-to-the-bone veracity – is an indomitable spirit, which he’s able to impart in his tunes, stage personality and general demeanor. A few minutes with Willie Nile will make a person feel like the world can be made better AND that they might have a hand in making it so. He sees our beauty even though our clothes are tattered and the lines of our lives cut deep into our faces. His songs ring with freedom and understanding, catalysts for belief that just over the horizon lays something brighter, something hopeful, something worth struggling towards.

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NPR Music - "Hear You Breathe"

Nile's ragged, earnest charm shines in "Hear You Breathe," and balances out the song's lush, Sgt. Pepper's-style pop sheen. Nile's multi-tracked vocals are perhaps the most impressive element of this beautifully produced track: They bloom into choirs, wander off in the background, chase stray lyrical threads and join in a round. Together, they pack a powerful symphonic punch, but their beauty is mussed up nicely with noisy lead guitar — particularly during the first verse, when Nile sounds as if he's playing a rusty screen door.

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UNCUT: The Innocent Ones

One a roll: latest in dark-horse New York songwriter's remarkable renaissance.  Few, if any, rock 'n' rollers are still writing the kind of stirring anthems Willie Nile comes up with - check "Cell Phones Ringing (In The Pockets Of The Dead)"

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ar Candy - New York Innocence

No one in the stripped-down, straight-ahead rock 'n' roll would today writes better songs than Willie Nile, who's been at it for the past 30 years, with one significant hiatus after early critical acclaim led to epic record label mismanagement.

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The Aquarian - Willie Nile Shines at Light of Day

From his tumultuous start to his present positioning as one of rock's genuine troubadours, Willie Nile has kept one theme current in his life and his music.  That theme is persistence. Weathering false and labeled expectations, Nile has powered his way into the hearts and souls of millions of music lovers throughout the world.  From his time with John Hammond to his continued friendship with Bruce Springsteen, Willie nonchalantly gives the reviewer his intuitive recollections with the attitude of a performer that is enjoying the journey.

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To review the magazine article with photos
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The Buffalo News - Musician for the World

He is a cheerfully non-iconic rocker, with old-school cool oozing from every pore.

Over three decades of musical exploits, Willie Nile has earned a global cult following, including marquee-name admirers like Bono, Lou Reed, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

"I'm a longtime friend and fan of Willie," Springsteen sidekick Nils Lofgren tells the AP. "The last couple of E Street Band tours, Bruce has brought him onstage with us and had him sing and play. ... He's great at it."

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Rolling Stone - The Best Under-the-Radar Albums of 2011

Willie Nile – The Innocent Ones and Garland Jeffreys – The King of In Between

These longtime kings of New York both issued peak-time records this year. Nile's opening trio on The Innocent Ones – "Singin' Bell," "One Guitar" and the title track – is Righteous-Anthem City, a fight on behalf of "the outcast, dead last" (as he sings in the second) waged with classic-rock ardor. Jeffreys' album was a true comeback; his last U.S. release came out in the previous century. But the local geography and defiant vocal poise in "Coney Island Winter," "I'm Alive" and "Roller Coaster Town" came with a funky jangle and martial stride that seemed barely a New York minute away from the pavement pride and candor of his 1977 classic, Ghost Writer. And that was Jeffreys' Syracuse University pal, Lou Reed, deep in the doot-doots of "The Contortionist" – a nice bit of reunion to go with the return.

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Blogcritic - "My Favorite Listens for 2011"

Willie Nile has been kicking around the music industry for so long that he does what he wants to do and doesn't worry about what anybody else has to say about it. It's too bad more people don't have that confidence, as this is as fine a collection of popular music as you'll have heard in a long time. He does everything equally well, with an exuberance that puts most acts to shame. Always a joy to listen to, Nile's latest is both topical and musically interesting. If you want to be reminded what rock and roll music is, check out this disc.

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Rock Solid: Nile's "Innocent Ones" Strikes a chord

Over three decades of musical exploits, Willie Nile has earned a global cult following, including marquee-name admirers like Bono, Lou Reed, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

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"Stunning…THE rock 'n' roll album of 2011!”


“Top Pick Of The Week (“One Guitar”)! He’s a rocker’s rocker, protégé of the famous, beloved in Europe….Rousing call to arms…delightful, anthemic….Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.”


“The epitome of real, true American rock ‘n’ roll. There is not a bad song on this record, 35 glorious minutes. 11 great goddamn songs, one beautiful and cohesive record. If you dig Springsteen, Petty, Peter Wolf – basically great, melodic American rock, this is right up your alley, done with enough originality to separate Nile from the pack. It’s important to seek it out. This is an artist that needs to be supported. If you find authenticity in struggle, if you hate all that is fake and manipulative, or if you just love good old rock and roll, Willie Nile is your man.”


“Willie Nile is clearly possessed by the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll…as he unleashes anthems, pop songs and power ballads…and speaks for the unempowered…a twenty-first century Woody Guthrie.”

"Willie Nile is that rarest of musicians…pure unadulterated rock and roll, and lyrics sung with more conviction in one song than many others could squeeze out over the course of a career. Power-pop anthems, thoughtful ballads, and rock and roll for the sheer fun of it. There aren’t many popular artists these days who are capable of doing a credible job of any one of those types of material, let alone all three…his compassion is so genuine that you can’t help believing him...topical and timeless…he gives you hope that maybe if people do raise their voices together they can indeed make a difference.”

“Bubbles, pops and rocks like it’s the debut of a couple of young dogs from the Big Apple….has more relevance than the entire catalog of would-be punk rockers….a large cargo full of power.”  

“Pick Of The Week....dynamite…a master-class in well-rooted rock….”One Guitar” works as a career-spanning manifesto.”


“Crossing the power of the Clash with the social consciousness of Woody Guthrie…he’s stronger than ever. He is swinging for the fences on “Singin’ Bell” and “The Innocent Ones,” just as he’s aiming for the deepness within on “Sideways Beautiful” and “Far Green Hills”. It’s almost uncanny the ease with which the Buffalo-born rocker gets there. At this stage, there is nothing Nile can’t do….performing with an energy not many can top…if there’s any fairness in the music business life should open up for someone with this much to say.”

“Finest work of his career, the best of them all…an artist who has reached the top of his game. The first three tracks have it all: crisply recorded ringing guitars, instantly memorable melodies and something more: that elusive, indelible anthemic quality that makes them sound like classics.”


“**** Four Stars!”

– The Daily News (Pittsburgh)

“The acclaimed singer/songwriter proves that his career is still in full swing with this collection of eleven tracks that blend electric folk, amped-up Americana, and inimitable vocals that lend even more power to already rock-solid lyrics. A classic any year.”


“Willie is a monster writer and performer! He’s as good as anybody out there.”


“Willie Nile is great…the only artist Bruce Springsteen invited to join him on stage during five sold out shows at Giant Stadium. He is THE secret superstar!”                            


“Superior songwriting…somewhere between Dylan and The Clash….Folks this is a true believer…check this one out…you won’t be disappointed.”


Eagle Tribune - CD Review

It's a sure sign that Willie Nile has never gotten nearly the success he's deserved in the states that this CD, released in Europe in 2010, is only now getting released in America.

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Q & A with Willie on "The Innocent Ones"

Since cutting his first record in 1980, Willie Nile has been a favorite among the folk and rock scenes, performing and recording with such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Richard Thompson, and Lucinda Williams. And while he’s bigger in Europe, Nile’s latest studio effort, The Innocent Ones, was released in America last week after an ambitious Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $20,000 for the cause.

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No Depression - CD Review

Willie Nile is clearly possessed by the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Three albums into a renaissance that began with 2006’s Streets of New York, the sixty-three-year-old singer-songwriter continues to turn out arrestingly good music. At an age that most rockers have retired, resigned themselves to oldies shows or simply turned into lesser versions of their younger selves, Nile is enriching his work with age and experience. His voice remains charged with idealistic belief, and he propels his tight band forward as he unleashes anthems, pop songs and powerful ballads.

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USA Today -  Willie Nile's "One Guitar"

 He's a rocker's rocker, stubbornly independent, a protégé of the famous, beloved in Europe but usually bubbling under the surface here for his 30-plus years as a performer. Maybe that changes with the Nov. 22 release of his delightful The Innocent Ones, on which this rousing call to arms is a highlight. Riding an anthemic melody, he states: "I'm a soldier marchin' in an army/Got no gun to shoot/But what I got is one guitar." Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

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Dirty Impound - "The Innocent Ones"

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.

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REVIEWniverse - 'The Innocent Ones' is a Joyous, Pounding Rock Gem

Willie Nile is a musical treasure. In terms of discussing his place in the rock pantheon, there really is no discussion. He belongs there, and for some very crazy reason, not enough folks know about him. Sure, he’s got a legion of fans globally and he’s highly regarded by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Lou Reed, but this guy should be gearing up for his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame speech, and not breaking his back promoting his latest should-be-classic, The Innocent Ones. And you know, on top of it all, he’s a really nice, salt-of-the-earth guy who just happens to rock like a superstar.

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Music News Nashville - 'The Innocent Ones"

Known for his live-performance energy, shades-of-Dylan vocal delivery, melodic rock ‘n’ roll, and his healthy shock of hair, Nile hits home anthems for the common man, and charms the unsuspecting with off-beat love songs.

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BC Blog Critics - 'The Innocent Ones" 

Describing “Singin’ Bell,” the opening track on Willie Nile’s new collection, the singer says the song is an effort to filter the populist sentiment of Pete Seeger through the in-your-face sensibility of the Ramones. That’s a fair summation of several tunes on this release. Nile clearly sees music as a vehicle for making affirming statements about the world around him, and he likes to do it with driving drums and guitars. In addition, he clearly is not singing to but about and for his audience as a whole, and you’re invited to join the show.

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American Songwriter - "The Innocent Ones"

Scrappy yet anthemic Dylan-esque East Coast singer/songwriting rocker Nile has been knocking around since 1980 releasing critically acclaimed albums that never found a sympathetic audience.

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Willie Nile: "The Innocent Ones" CD Review

For those who are unfamiliar with Willie Nile, his new album The Innocent Ones might very well be the record to bring you aboard, to add you to the ranks of his fans (putting you in the company of Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Roger McGuinn and Pete Townshend). Willie Nile opened for The Who in 1980, and has played with Bruce Springsteen, so of course is no stranger to great rock and roll.

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Willie Nile's Buffalo-brewed rock

 Considering his home town of Buffalo is just 20 minutes away, it's surprising it has taken Willie Nile this long to do his first proper show in Niagara Falls.

Mind you, he has been busy these past 40 years. Opening up for The Who. Jamming with Springsteen. Earning a loyal following for his amped-up, heartland rock. But while he's a regular at the annual Light of Day Niagara fundraising concert, we've never had Willie on his own until this week.

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Smokin' Square

Willie Nile and his “Buffalo band” — featuring members of the Amazing All My Children Band, as well as assorted extended family members, among them guitarist Steve Barrick, drummer Chris Knab and bassist John Honan — might’ve stolen the show from a lesser headliner, so visceral, powerful and, frankly, fun was their set. The Buffalo native seems to have forgotten about aging, and is instead focusing on the strength of his late-career body of work. That oeuvre includes Nile’s finest four albums, “Beautiful Wreck of the World,” “Streets of New York,” “House of a Thousand Guitars,” and “The Innocent Ones.” Nile and company drew liberally from each of these albums during a stellar 60-minute set.

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Rock's Best-Kept Secret Takes Joe's

If Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen had a love child, Willie Nile would be it. The New York-based singer-songwriter — whose latest album, The Innocent Ones (2010) is “full of timeless songs,” according to JAM Magazine — is known for his raspy yet accessible voice, poetic lyrics and fiery live performances.

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Willie Nile performs timeless music at Iron Horse Music Hall

The long-ago, almost-famous troubadour showed up at the Iron Horse on Saturday night and clanged through a nearly two hour set of timeless rock.

During the course of his show Nile called out the names of those who inspire him and his well-traveled trunk of songs.

He called out to Ray Davies, Pete Seeger, Joey Ramone, and even John Prine who was holding court across the street at the Calvin Theatre.

The names served as a touchstone for the audience to bring them in, overkill really, given that everyone in the house was hooked from the first note.

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Mr. Excitement Plays Scotch Plains

Singer/songwriter Willie Nile takes the stage at the JCC on Saturday for the Split Level Concert Series.

If Willie Nile is ever reincarnated, here's hoping he comes back as an energy drink. If you talk to him, you'll know why. The singer/songwriter is upbeat and bubbly, puts his audience in an optimistic mood (even if it's just one lone journalist) and there's no hangover later in the day....

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Light of Day - Colwyn Bay

"With nothing more than six strings and a loose-leaf folder of songs, he completely and utterly lit up the stage with every move he made and every sound that he uttered"   - Mike 'Catshoe' Hughes

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What they're saying about "The Innocent Ones"

Stunning!!......Album Of The Week!!”   

– BBC Scotland

“Greatest album yet!”     

– Net Rhythms

“’One Guitar’ is the best song I’ve heard since ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’!”          

–   Mike Peters (THE ALARM)

“Full of timeless songs…passionate…romantic…stupendous…one of the best American singer-songwriters of our time.”   

– JAM Magazine

“This record is amazing!!!! His best! Great sound and Production!!!! Stand out tracks: One Guitar, The Innocent Ones, Sideways Beautiful, Can’t Stay Home (Amazing!), My Little Girl, Topless Amateur”!!!

– Jesse Malin

"The Innocent Ones is THE rock'n'roll album of 2010, punching all other would-be contenders out of the ring.”

– BBC Scotland

“Some of the most powerful music to come out of the Americana scene…an absolute powerhouse on stage…I urge you to seek him out.”  


“A one-man Clash!” 


“Willie puts life into song like only a few in the world can!”   

– Marky Ramone

“Willie’s so good I can’t believe he’s not from New Jersey!”
– Little Steven


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