TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 44: Willie Nile

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when troubadours would travail the twilight streets of New York City with a guitar strapped to their back and scribbled lyrics written in coffee shops crammed into the pockets of their Levis. These minstrels would then perform those tunes to audiences who went out specifically to see something new, to learn about new voices and musical directions. Willie Nile can tell you more about it, he was there.

Discovered by Clive Davis in the late 1970s, in many ways, Nile was the last of that generation of New York City poet/ songwriters to get a shot at the big time. Willie brings that timeless poet’s sensibility to his recent run of albums. His newest project, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a record focused on the impact and experience of our recent pandemic times.

Willie is a lot of fun to talk to—he’s a bit of divining rod to the sea of emotions that exist just below the surface of the city. He’ll tell you all about the new album, but his conversation is full of rich context and wisdom that only someone who’s howled songs into the night sky over Manhattan during the wee hours would truly understand.

It feels a little bit as though the Earth has stood still for the last year or so. During times like these, when it seems we’re often at a loss for words, we’re lucky to have guys like Willie around to fastidiously fill in our collective blanks with rock and roll music sealed with the magic of a poet’s touch.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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