Americana has tended to be a home for Alternative Country performers with Southern or Western roots, and also introspective Folk troubadours who favor a quiet, often-acoustic approach.
But it’s also becoming a haven for a certain kind of veteran rocker — Northeast urban with a tuneful yet powerful guitar-based sound heavily influenced by the lyrically perceptive, anthemic 1970s recordings of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and (especially) Bruce Springsteen. After all, what could be more Americana than “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Walk on the Wild Side” or “Promised Land?”
To date, none of these Americana performers has had the kind of career renewal and revival to match Willie Nile, a New Yorker who is 65 and who released his first album in 1980.
Recording spottily since then (he had a full-time job), he seemed to rediscover his purpose with his masterful 2006 Streets of New York album, a loving tribute to his post-9/11 home.
Nile has released three studio albums since then (almost as many as he made in the previous 26 years), and last year’s great American Ride was the breakthrough that got national airplay on Americana stations.
It is rousing, spirited and muscularly upbeat on sing-along songs like “This Is Our Time” and “God Laughs.”
But Nile also has a tender side, showcased on piano-based “The Crossing” and the lovely title song, which builds slowly from acoustic guitar until it roars like “Thunder Road.”
Nile’s rare Cincinnati appearance is a major event for those who love the Rock side of Americana. Or just great Classic Rock.