Willie Nile returns to Buffalo

Maris Lambie, Staff Writer

Willie Nile, an internationally acclaimed rock musician from Buffalo, will be returning to his hometown to play two shows in October.

Nile will be playing at the Town Ballroom on October 23 and at the Sportsman’s Tavern on October 24.

“I can’t wait to come back, my roots are deep in Buffalo,” Nile said.

Nile was born in Kenmore and grew up in Cheektowaga.

“I grew up with music all around me,” Nile said.

His grandfather played for a local orchestra and two of his uncles were musicians. Nile was introduced to rock and roll music through his older brothers, who would always bring home rock albums and have the radio on. Influenced by his love for music, Nile took piano and drums lessons.

When Nile was in high school, he began to write poetry, which he would later combine with his music.

“I lived in Ohio for a year and my roommate taught me how to play [guitar]. It was natural, my poetry matched the music,” Nile said.

After graduating from University at Buffalo with a degree in philosophy, Nile moved to New York City.

“I got out of college, moved there and started going to clubs and open mics,” Nile said. “It was a great scene. I loved the beat poets; there were lots of great bands. I like music with an edge, New York had that edge and I felt like I was at home.”

Nile got his start playing gigs at Kenny Castaway’s on Bleecker Street. One of his gigs caught the attention of New York Times writer Robert Palmer, who claimed that Nile was “the most gifted song writer to emerge from the New York folk scene.” This review, as well as Nile’s first album, lead to Nile opening for The Who on one of their North American tours, making him known nationally.

Afterwards, Nile went on a solo tour playing in clubs across the country. In the early ‘90s, Nile was able to tour Europe, expanding his audience overseas.

Despite traveling all over the world, Buffalo still holds a special place in Nile’s heart.

“I love Buffalo, it’s a rock and roll town,” Nile said. “I love coming back. There are so many bands and the audience knows how to rock. Buffalo audiences are very vocal. They know their music and are very interactive.”

Fans of Nile can expect both of his shows to be very different. His show at the Town Ballroom will be a “storytelling performance,” with Nile’s solo songs and rarities.

“It will be intimate, moving and good fun,” Nile said.

Nile’s show at the Sportsman’s Tavern will be with his full band playing some new songs as well as his classics.

“It’s going to be a rocker, loud and fun,” Nile said “They have to replace the roof every time I play here.”

When asked if he had any advice for other aspiring Buffalo musicians, Nile said, “Trust your instincts and follow your heart. Do what is meaningful to you.”

Nile is currently working on a new album and is planning a Midwest tour for November.


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