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Years later, Nile’s Beatle worship came full circle in a much happier way.

On a tour with Ringo Starr, “He comes walkin’ right over and he gives me a big hug. I thought, `Beatle sweat! I’m covered with Beatle sweat!’ It was a glorious moment,” Nile says with a chuckle.

In the early days, he was wedged into the New Dylan pigeonhole that chafed Springsteen. Nile still occasionally employs the half-spoken, freight-train-in-the-distance vocals and folk-strident themes that evoke early Dylan.

That connection intensified a generation later when Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, appeared on a Nile album.

Recent critics have labeled Nile’s work folk-punk; roots-rock; singer-songwriter; power-pop; classic rock; alternative rock, Pete Seeger channeled through Joey Ramone.

He uses the term “New Classic,” denoting a “timeless quality.” But his personal favorite is “one-man Clash.”

Nile now has his own record company. He’s had contracts with two major labels. Weary of “hustlers” and gripped with legal woes, he says he walked away from the business twice.

During a decade-long hiatus, he continued songwriting but primarily focused on family in his native Buffalo, N.Y. At a recent performance, he sang the new album’s sweetly refreshing “Sideways Beautiful” in honor of a daughter.

“Some years were very thin” while trying to “raise four kids on fumes,” he concedes, lamenting the effects on his loved ones. But “tell me … who has not had a tough road?”

Despite years of relentless hype as “the next big thing,” it was nearly impossible to get his foot back in the stage and studio doors. He’s made his own way _ aiming simply to strike a chord in whatever heart is meant to receive it.

Now, “I’m having a great time,” he declares. “I’m makin’ music. I’m fightin’ the fight. … I’ve never felt more alive.”

It’s taken a village to get there.

“The Innocent Ones” was already a success in Europe, but its U.S. rollout hit a snag. The fans _ seizing on his premise that “One Guitar,” or one voice, matters _ pumped nearly $20,000 into an artistic fundraising site to help hasten its American release.

“I got to tour with the Who across the U.S. I’ve sung with Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium in front of 70,000 people for half an hour,” says Nile. But it’s moments like this that leave him struggling for words.

“These are hard times economically. … The fans totally …” he says haltingly. “I was very, very _ I mean, how great is it?”

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