New York City is the city everybody loves to hate. Those of us who live outside of it despise those who live there because they arrogantly believe that it's a Mecca for artistic talent and home to some of the most diverse and interesting creative people in North America. What really pisses us off is that of course they are right. Anybody who has spent anytime at all in New York City with their eyes and ears open will know that there is undeniably something about the energy of the town that creates the tension required to stimulate creative juices.
One only needs to look at the facilities and organizations dedicated to the arts to realize how ingrained they are into the very fabric of the city. Outside of cities in Europe I've never seen a metropolitan centre that not only celebrates the arts but the artists who create them as they do in New York. Whether a diva in the Metropolitan Opera Company or a poet in the Bowery, each are given equal credence as artists. Is it any wonder that young people chasing their muse descend upon the city in the hopes that not only will they obtain recognition, but find others of like mind with whom with they can collaborate and commiserate with over failures.
So when a young Willie Nile left his home in Buffalo New York looking to set his poems and stories to music, it was only natural that he headed to New York City. It's been his home since then and in the years since his arrival he's been putting his words to music and earning the respect of his peers, if not the commercial acclaim, he deserves. He's even survived the curse of being tagged the next Bob Dylan, after Bruce Springsteen but before Steve Forbert. Although he fell through the cracks for a bit without a contract, he's now back in full swing, and in 2006 released Streets Of New York, the album he refers to as the one he's always wanted to write, a homage to the city that took him in and gave him his opportunity to shine.
To celebrate the release of the album, he and his band decided they wanted to do something special so they did a one-off gig at the Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was Willie's record label, 00:02:59, that suggested they film the event, and now two years latter, Live From The Streets Of New York, the DVD, and a CD of the same name, of that concert have been released. Of the 15 tracks on the DVD and the live CD, ten are taken from the Streets Of New York release while the other five are from various points in Willie's career.