There’s something positively meta about the idea of Willie Nile releasing an album of Bob Dylan covers; Nile’s probably garnered Dylan comparisons for the majority of his career. It’s not unreasonable, either; Nile does sound like Dylan. Thus, Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan perhaps seems a long-time a’comin’. But Nile’s decades-long career means that he’s grown comfortable in his voice, so even though he sounds like Dylan, he doesn’t sound like a Dylan imitator. Though Nile plays it safe with his song choices–any music fan would probably know almost all of these greatest hits already–I’m particularly fond of one of Dylan’s hidden jewels, “Every Grain of Sand.” The final song on his 1981 album Shot Of Love, it was a plain, straight-up love song to God, a touching, sincere performance that closed out his “Christian phase” of his recording career. Nile’s version is stripped-down and bare-bones, which also serves the song quite well.
Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan is out now on River House.