Out of nowhere, Rock and Roll legend Willie Nile released a new album called If I Was A River. This is a nice surprise since Nile just released one of his best albums to date, American Ride, last year. He decided to put down the guitar for this album and play nothing but piano ballads.
Willie has always had piano songs on his albums and has played them live. This album is different since it’s nothing but piano songs and I’m loving it! Interesting fact: the piano used on this album is the same Steinway Grand piano that Willie used 34 years ago on the evening that Lennon was shot. Lennon and Willie were recording in the same studio that night. I’m surprised he was able to track down the piano, which was in Weehawken, NJ I think.
The title track starts off the album and it’s a beautiful song. The opening lines, “If I Was A River, I’d carry you home, and roll you in my arms so you won’t be alone” is something that is stuck in my head and I keep singing it over and over. Impersonating Willie of course. “Song of a Soldier” reminds me of a slow, civil war era folk song. The fiddle playing might give me that impression.
In the middle of the album, Willie has a track called “Lullaby Loon.” It’s a fun upbeat song (on the piano of course) that could be worked into a sea shanty if he wanted. I can just picture a ship filled with singing & dancing pirates singing along to this song. I guess this could make a great drinking song as well since the piano playing is done in a saloon style.
I have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to this album but with that said, definitely an excellent album by Mr. Willie Nile. Sometimes I just want to hear Willie rocking out, it’s understandable but hearing Willie do piano songs is just as good. I’m looking forward to hearing these songs live.
Bottom Line: While I prefer Rock And Roll Willie, If I Was River is an outstanding album!
Notable Tracks: If I Was River, Song Of A Soldier, Lullaby Loon, Going To St. Louis, Let Me Be The River