The New York Times called him "one of the most gifted singer-songwriters to emerge from the New York scene in years." His album “Streets Of New York” was hailed as “a platter for the ages” by UNCUT magazine. He has been called "a one-man Clash" (UNCUT) and his critically acclaimed albums have gotten rave reviews around the world. Bono, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Jim Jarmusch, Adam Duritz and Little Steven are among those who have sung his praises.
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Willie comes from a musical family -- his grandfather was a vaudeville pianist who played with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Eddie Cantor, and his uncles played boogie-woogie. Willie's older brothers, meanwhile, brought home the music of Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Fats Domino, all of whom he heard from the time he was three or four years old. Willie himself began playing piano at age eight and took classical music lessons until he was a teenager, when he taught himself his first rock & roll song. He soon began to compose short songs and continued the habit into his college years, when during the summers he made trips into New York City to frequent hootenanny clubs like Folk City and the Gaslight. After graduation, Willie took an apartment in the heart of Greenwich Village; however, during his first winter in New York, he contracted pneumonia, which put him out of commission for about a year, although he continued writing songs while recuperating. After regaining his health, he began hanging out at clubs like CBGB's, where he would see bands like Patti Smith, Television, the Ramones, and Talking Heads.
After establishing residency at the Village club Kenny's Castaways, Willie began drawing ever-growing crowds, which in turn led to his first record deal. Following a flurry of critical acclaim, he found himself courted by representatives from close to a dozen record companies; he chose Arista Records, and went into the studio with a band that included Jay Dee Daugherty from the Patti Smith Group. The rest, as they say, is history.
Willie and his band just finished recording a new studio album, "American Ride," for an early 2013 release. The album will contain 12 new songs in a variety of styles, from the journey across America title track, which Bono called "a classic," to the front lines of "Life On Bleecker Street," to the madness of "Holy War," to a cover of Jim Carroll's great song "People Who Died." There are electric and acoustic guitars, pianos, drums, electric bass, upright bass, organ, horns, soft shoe routines, rockers, ballads, shuffles, you name it. Willie is thrilled with how it came out – we can't wait to hear it!