Willie Nile

Friday

SXSW Records

Willie Nile

House of a Thousand Guitars (River House)

Touted as heir to his career-defibrillating Streets of New York (2006), Willie Nile's House of a Thousand Guitars jumps the curb for an introspective trek through the looking glass. Like an Eastern seaboard Alex Chilton or Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the veteran troubadour, with vocals so reedy (Dylan, not Lou), remains a songsmith's songsmith. At his most sensitive, the sweeping and redemptive "Her Love Falls Like Rain" and "Now That the War Is Over" (riddled with tension, stabbing lyrics, and a gut-wrenching minor key bridge), Nile's a hound straining at the lead, hot on the scent of something pulpy and subcutaneous. Conversely, his pub-rock musculature is taut, almost sinewy. Even at his most bombastic – the very 1980s "Doomsday Dance," "Magdelina," and almost-out-of-place title track (considering half of the songs are dominated by keyboard) – he manages to teeter lithe, agile melodies atop the rock. (Fri., Mother Egan's, 9pm.)

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