The Little Willies Norah Jones has never been a stranger to old-school country; hints of Patsy Cline sensuality and Floyd Cramer piano have crept into her two albums.… The Little Willies Norah Jones has never been a stranger to old-school country; hints of Patsy Cline sensuality and Floyd Cramer piano have crept into her two albums.… 2006-03-07 The Little Willies Country Pop
Music Review

The Little Willies (2006)

EW's GRADE
C+

Details Release Date: Mar 07, 2006; Lead Performance: The Little Willies; Genres: Country, Pop

Norah Jones has never been a stranger to old-school country; hints of Patsy Cline sensuality and Floyd Cramer piano have crept into her two albums. With friends and band members, she's formed a roots-music side project, the Little Willies, their name inspired by Willie Nelson. On their self-titled debut, the musicians unwind with a set of Nashville standards and like-minded originals, all of it scaled back in the best pro-Hank, anti-pop-crossover style. The vibe is cozy and Starbucks-friendly, and Jones' voice sounds cuddly on the Western-swing classic ''Roly Poly.'' But the band's other vocal lead, reedy-voiced New York singer-songwriter Richard Julian, doesn't do justice to songs by alt-country heroes Townes Van Zandt and Tompall Glaser. His version of Hank's jokey-but-uneasy ''I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive'' is, like the album itself, too watered-down, as if the goal were to make country for people who don't normally like it.

Originally posted Mar 03, 2006 Published in issue #867 Mar 10, 2006 Order article reprints
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