Veteran singer-songwriter Willie Nile is marking his 73rd birthday Monday, June 7th, with a new song, “Blood on Your Hands,” featuring Steve Earle.
“Blood on Your Hands” is a steady stomping rock cut that finds Nile and Earle trading searing verses about human nature’s more sinister qualities. “Blood on your hands, blood on your hands,” goes the chorus, “Can’t wipe it off with your one-night stands/Blood on your hands, blood on your hands/There’s little old ladies dying in the heartland.”
The song also arrives with a music video that finds Nile and his backing band performing the track on stage at the Bowery Electric in New York City. Footage of Earle recording the song in the studio is also spliced in.
“These are turbulent times,” Nile said in a statement. “This song is about dancing with the devil. Whether it’s something personal between two people or politics on a world stage, if you dance with the devil you can get blood on your hands. It’s a universal theme. Greed, selfishness, and pride aren’t limited to governments. Things like that happen between people on a personal level all the time. On a larger scale, the pandemic has had devastating consequences globally, as have all the wars in the past century. When governments put money and power ahead of people’s lives there’s a price to be paid and, sadly, there are a lot of countries on this planet who are guilty of it.”
“Blood on Your Hands” will appear on Nile’s upcoming album, The Day the Earth Stood Still, out August 13th via River House/Virtual Label Records. The album gets its title from the 1951 sci-fi classic, although it was inspired by the way Nile’s hometown of New York City ground to a halt at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nile recorded the album with longtime producer Stewart Lerman and his longstanding live band.
“I always write about the world around me, and this time around, the world around me was a little crazier than usual,” Nile said. “These songs were inspired by the pandemic, injustice, politics, love, compassion, joy, sorrow, ignorance, human suffering, man’s inhumanity to man — the usual riddles and mysteries of life, and of course the occasional hell-raising rock & roll song or two.”