In his three and a half decades as a recording artist, Willie Nile has earned a reputation as both a fiercely committed rock ’n’ roller and a singularly insightful songwriter. It’s Nile’s introspective side that fuels If I Was A River, a deeply compelling ten-song collection that diverges from his usual sound, while affirming the remarkable, melodic and lyrical skills that have long endeared the artist to his passionately loyal fan base.
In contrast to the rousing, guitar-based rock ’n’ roll that’s been the focus of the dozen albums that he’s released since 1980, If I Was A River — which will be available on CD at willienile.com, and available as a digital download after November 11 — features ten stirring original compositions on which Nile accompanies himself on piano, with sparse arrangements that keep the focus firmly on the songs and Nile's deeply felt performances.
That stripped-down, piano-based approach is one that Nile has explored on various tracks over the years, but never for the length of an entire album. However, in the wake of the warm public reception that greeted his 2013 release American Ride — which won some of the most enthusiastic reviews of his career and was voted Best Rock Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards — Nile was ready to explore some new creative options.