Diane Gentile and the Gentle Men feat. Alejandro Escovedo Present “Walk With Me”

Rock music in New York City is one of the last things on earth that can’t be done the easy way. If you want the respect of audiences and peers in America’s most legendary rock scene, you’ve got to put the time in. That means honing your craft in practice spaces, playing little clubs, and championing your fellow musicians. This New York favorite knows that music never rests, and she’s out with an inspiring new single that celebrates persistence in the face of all adversity and the healing power of empathy and simple joys.

She’s had help from a fellow traveler. “Walk With Me” is a duet with another like-minded artist: the celebrated roots rocker Alejandro Escovedo, who imparts every phrase he sings with grace, understanding, and wry dignity. Escovedo is a Texan, but he’s been an adjunct member of the New York scene for decades, and on this single, he and Diane Gentile sound like they were born to rock together — which, in a way, they were. Gentile and Escovedo answer each other’s lines, match each other’s expressions of resilience and hopefulness, and harmonize with a rough sort of beauty. It’s a song that could only have been made in New York.

The same can be said of her album, The Bad and the Beautiful, a project representing the culmination of a life spent appreciating and absorbing rock music in a place as demanding and rewarding as New York City. The Gentle Men, her band, is a team of indie legends, including pianist Rob Clores, multi-instrumentalist James Mastro, and guitarist Jason Victor of the Dream Syndicate. She’s gotten contributions from E Street organist Charlie Giordano, Studio G stalwart Oscar Albis Rodriguez, UK folk-bluesman James Maddock, and Jesse Malin. Yet none of these personalities ever overshadow Diane Gentile. Instead, they’re here to enhance her storytelling, heighten the intensity of the performances and ground these narratives in Downtown grit.

A song like this requires a New York themed-video to match, and Diana Gentile has answered the challenge with a clip that takes her through the heart of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The camera follows her to the pedestrian plaza by the Brooklyn Bridge, past the monumental architecture that has always framed life in New York, and down to the park at the edge of the East River. There she sits upright in her seat at a talent show, surrounded by unoccupied chairs. Yes, there are a lot of people missing. But the music goes on.

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