There's a certain reliability to a Willie Nile album. Not unlike spending an afternoon at the ballpark perhaps. Hot dog in hand, a nice 75 degree day, and a certain contentment in knowing how things are going to roll for the next couple of hours or so. Not that Children of Paradise, Willie's eleventh (or so) studio outing spans anywhere near the better part of the afternoon, but you get my drift. His original premise (and I say that loosely) always struck me as an empathetic fusion of Springsteen and Dylan. These days that synthesis manifests itself into something approaching solo Paul Westerberg, albeit without as much irony and wordplay.
Not one to operate in the abstract, Willie's plaintive aplomb is nonetheless conveyed via uplifting, populist sentiments on Children's... rallying opener, "Seeds of a Revolution." Call it a melting pot-anthem if you will, reminding us that our presently turmoil-ridden democratic experiment only exists due to it's international composition. "Getting Ugly Out There" and "Earth Blues" speak to issues of the day as well, spirited along in our protagonists cautionary but hopeful tenor. And what would a Willie Nile album be without a few raucous rave-ups? "Rock n' Roll Sister," "I Defy," and the particularly strident "Don't" fit the bill perfectly, and prove the man in question hasn't lost an iota of stamina. Naturally, on the flip-side of the coin, a good quarter of Children... is set aside for ballads with "Lookin' for Someone," being particularly effective. Finally, without giving too much away, the poignant title track is another ace feather in his cap. In a nutshell, things are tough and modern times are a bitch. It's hard to believe any single album could be a catalyst for change or uplift, but Willie is making a rock solid go of it.
Children of Paradise sees the light of day on July 27th on Amazon, iTunes and Willie Nile's online store.
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