Willie Nile, The Bottom Line Archive 1980-2000, is two disc set, separated by a 20 year gap, and is a great example of Nile's long term staying power, and the loyalty that Bottom Line owner/curator, Allan Pepper (booker, or talent buyer does not suffice) extends to the artists that he really believes in. Exhibit a is this double-disc affair, highlighting two distinct eras in Nile's 35-year career. It is worth noting that one of the primary reasons we can enjoy the temporal contrasts contained in this collection is simply because, when Willie was ready to come back, Allan Pepper was just as ready to welcome him back to The Bottom Line. It was a second home for me, gushes Nile. Allan and the whole vibe of the club was so musician-friendly and warm. It was just the best place to play for that reason.
If I Was a River is the tenth studio album from American singer-songwriter Willie Nile. The all-piano album was released in November 2014 under River House Records. Nile recorded If I Was a River on the same Steinway grand piano that he played the night John Lennon was killed, December 8, 1980. Nile was in Studio "A" at The Record Plant in New York City making Golden Down and John and Yoko were working on Walking on Thin Ice in Studio C that night. If I Was a River has been positively received and has had favorable reviews. Uncut critic Luke Torn wrote: "Intimate, understated gem from New York City's unofficial poet laureate." Pop Matters writer Steve Horowitz writes "Nile knows we have a river of love within that connects us to others…
Returning to solo status after the 2012 Matchbox 20 reunion – this time, the group didn't go on hiatus; they merely took a break while their singer pursued other projects – Rob Thomas decided to broaden his horizons on 2015's The Great Unknown by working with a variety of different producers and collaborators this time around. Still on board in an executive producer role is Matt Serletic (the producer who's worked with Thomas for nearly 20 years), and the singer/songwriter also enlists OneRepublic mastermind Ryan Tedder and Jason Derulo/Jessie J producer Ricky Reed to give him a modern pop life. This new blood is notable on The Great Unknown, which is considerably livelier than 2009's contemplative Cradlesong. He hasn't entirely abandoned power ballads – it's in his blood and it's something he does well, as evidenced by "Paper Dolls" and the spare, piano-anchored closer "Pieces" – and he retains a fondness for surging, insistent anthems, the kind that fill arenas and airwaves with equal ease.
From the fanfare of the opening crawl to the abrupt cutaway zing of the closing credits, John Williams' soundtrack to The Force Awakens does not disappoint. Williams has always been an integral part of the Star Wars experience, as familiar as the movies themselves, comforting and nostalgic. The fan anticipation and legacy baggage that came with the seventh film in this iconic series was overwhelming, being the first new film since 2005's Revenge of the Sith and the direct sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi, yet the results are not crushed by outlandish pressure. For The Force Awakens, Williams began work in late 2014, before recording began in Los Angeles in June 2015 (the first time a Star Wars film score was not recorded at Abbey Road). He enlisted a freelance orchestra and, with the help of William Ross and Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, produced a 23-song journey connecting the past and the future of the Star Wars universe. Here, Williams combines the old and the new with expert subtlety, creating a lush experience that rewards repeat listens. Those familiar with his work on other big-budget sagas (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones) will instantly recognize the blaring horns that propel the action, the stirring strings that intensify the tension, and the bombast that contribute to the excitement as much as the scenes portrayed on the screen.